Mind Over Matter

I ran for the first time this weekend. For the first time since surgery, at least. Well, it was about six minutes of running amongst nine of walking (per my physical therapist’s orders) but it was running none the less.


The entire time, a million thoughts ran through my head:

Holy shit, I’m running!

Wow, my form is horrible.

But I’m running!

Wait, was that a twinge in my knee?

No, it wasn’t. Because he fixed it. The surgeon went in, removed the inflamed tissue, and stitched you back up. And there’s pictures to prove it.

But are you sure it wasn’t a twinge?

I know my brain. For as long as I can remember, it has tried to trick me into thinking things are worse than they actually are. I think that’s called anxiety, but since I’ve never been diagnosed, I just consider it something my brain does from time to time.

Still, it didn’t stop me from sending a semi-frantic message to my physical therapist (who is also a friend) basically stating that I needed her to talk me down off the my-knee-isn’t-fixed-I-had-surgery-for-nothing-and-I’ll-never-be-able-to-run-again ledge. Her response, of course, was completely logical:

“Pain is normal with new activity and muscle pain and “your” pain will be hard to differentiate because panic is currently your brain’s state of mind.”

Panic is currently my brain’s state of mind. Truer words have never been spoken. But working on that panic, even when you know it isn’t based in reality, is hard.

So I’m following the plan. Three minutes of walking followed by two minutes of jogging, repeated three times. If I get through three of these sessions pain-free, I get to move onto the next step (more jogging, less walking). I completed another session tonight, so I have one more to go.

Tonight went a lot better, and right now I feel great. But I know the panic state of mind is still there, lurking. Waiting for the tiniest crack in my confidence so it can flood back in. I just need to remember that the surgeon fixed it, I am running, and I will be fine.