A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Drop and give me 20 hugs!

Apparently my ankle is pissed off! According to the physiotherapist I saw yesterday. Well, I'm pissed off too!

I hurt my foot when we were on vacation the first week of April. Since then I kept hoping that if I just rested it the pain would go away. It didn't! Stupid foot!

elegant embrace spacers and T-shirt charm
I had a very bad ankle sprain when I was in university playing on the varsity volleyball team (over 30 years ago). I tore the ligament that holds the bottom of the tibia and fibula together (the two bones in the lower leg) and tore the membrane between the two bones. At the time, the athletic therapist said I should rest (a four-letter word to an athlete) because I was at risk of developing compartment syndrome - very bad swelling in the group of muscles in the shin, limiting blood flow - and I could develop drop foot. But I was a teenager, and I was - in my mind at least - invincible, so I said, "Tape me up Coach! I'm going in!" Especially since I was playing for my province in the Canada Games!

They also warned me that I would most likely develop osteoarthritis or some other foot problem by the time I was forty. Sure enough, right at forty I had mechanical problems with my foot, had a lot of physio, and wore an ankle brace, especially if I was walking on uneven surfaces.

Now that I am almost fifty, those two leg bones are splaying apart and causing my ankle bone to get stuck. Whenever I stand or walk my ankle locks. And it is extremely painful! And I am pissed!

But calling my foot "Stupid" is not going to heal it. And admittedly I have worse names I use for this as well as various other body parts that I'm not happy with. I'll do physio, and I will learn how to tape it. Maybe I'll try underwater exercise equipment, or the latest gravity-free treadmill. Or maybe I'll have to have a big ole screw put in to hold those two bones together.

But right now I need that ankle to calm down - and I need to stop pissing it off! I need to be gentle on it, and treat it with loving kindness.

Now there's a concept! Maybe I could try treating mySELF with loving kindness! I am trying to come to terms with the idea that "I can't HATE myself to health." I've tried. Believe me, I've tried hating. It doesn't work. Beating myself up just leads to annoyance, aggravation, frustration, impatience... well, you get the idea!
So I thought I'd try something different - I will LOVE myself to health. It's a tough concept. But I have a charm for that! The T-shirt charm with the gold heart was one of the first charms I bought over two years ago at the beginning of my recovery. And it represents one of the most important of my affirmations: "I love and accept myself, as I am."

Pssst! I don't really but I am going to say it to myself, over and over. I will "fake it til I make it."

So what does that love and acceptance mean?

First of all, it means acknowledging the current situation, rather than looking the other way and hoping that this will go away if I ignore it long enough - aka "sticking your head in the sand", something that I am quite skilled at!  Someone suggested this is happening because I need to learn this and this injury is forcing me to accept the situation and learn to take better care of myself. Another person suggested that, like someone who is in a wheelchair, I may need to learn that I'm still valuable, even if I can't use my legs.

Secondly, acceptance means being honest with myself and accepting the fact that I am overweight and out of shape. It's not a judgement, it's just a fact. I have to find a way to exercise that doesn't involve being on my feet or bending my ankle. Chair aerobics anyone?

So my goal (in addition to not pissing off my ankle) is to try to "embrace" myself with compassion by practicing a special kind of meditation. After two weeks of daily practice I will reward myself with the "elegant embrace" spacers for my lavender-periwinkle "Serenity" bracelet.

Serendipitously, my brother came to visit last week to attend a two-day workshop on Compassion-Focused Therapy (CFT). He explained the concept and it seemed to resonate with me, given my history of anxiety and negative self-talk. After seeing the physio yesterday I realized I need to learn how to do this. I'm going to practice. Because I suck at being compassionate! I should say I suck at being compassionate with myself.... I shouldn't say "I suck"... I shouldn't say "should"... Clearly I need to work on this!

I need to stop should-ing all over myself!

I'll let you know how I do.

If you are interested in learning more, or trying the practice yourself, please click on the link below.
Compassionate Mind Training podcast with guided meditation and imagery exercises

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