Suffering is optional

suffering optional

Have you ever seen someone crying in public? You notice it and your first reaction is to look away but then you feel guilty….like maybe you should help them or hug them or do something nice for them because something really awful must have happened to them to make them cry in a public place.

Considering that I was the one crying in a Jason’s Deli last week I have decided that ‘awful’ is relative.

Josh and I get along really well. I mean, it sounds cliché but we rarely argue or get in disagreements. Until I am injured and he becomes my physical therapist and overwhelms me with anatomical jargon and at home exercises and a long list of what I cannot do.

Which never goes well. Even if I didn’t care at all about something before, as soon as someone says I can’t do it, I’m all over it. Unfortunate character flaw I guess…or maybe it’s just human nature. So imagine how this goes when someone is trying to tell me I can’t do something I really love?

Our conversation started with me asking how soon I can run again and ended with my head down and sobbing at the restaurant table.

I would just like to take a quick second to justify this by reminding everyone that I have been under a lot of other stress and pressure recently (new job, moving, new house, etc.) and that the occasional crying spell is totally normal!! At least I really hope it is…otherwise…


Anyway, I NEED to run. Running is therapy. Running is my mood elevator. The effects of not running are painful, not only for me but for anyone who has to have any interaction with me. I’m groggy, antsy, unfocused, irritable and I have trouble sleeping. (Incidentally, all the above mentioned are also symptoms of withdrawal from Xanax and anti-depressants…)

As a physical therapist, it’s easy and natural for Josh to explain to me why I can’t run, or squat, or even use the elliptical (not without wearing the boot and who really goes to the gym in a boot?). It’s easy for him to say no running for at least 8 weeks because it’s not him who loves running. I was feeling particularly sorry for myself one night when he was again explaining to me why I needed to take so much time off and I said to him “Please imagine that you are me. Please imagine that someone is telling you that you cannot do what you love (for him weight lifting/crossfit) for at least 8 weeks. Now imagine that you also struggle with body image and food addiction. And also you are not a member of a gym. This gives you a little clue as to what I’m dealing with here and why I am reacting so obstinately.”

But I’m over the pity party. I saw this quote in my doctor’s office (also the place where Josh works) and it is incredibly relevant:

what you can do(Sorry that this photo is so awful. It was the best I could do, what with trying to snap a photo of the wall in my doctor’s office while trying not to look like I was snapping a photo of the wall.)

Like all things, it just took a little while for me to adjust. I’ve been using the bicycle machine in my parents’ living room for about 2 weeks now and it is a decent substitute. It is nowhere near the mind therapy that I need but it’s getting the job done.

Meanwhile, I do have to ask myself what the difference between cycling and running is? Why is running so calming and cycling isn’t? I can only guess it’s because the bike is stationary and stuck in the living room. The scenery and the alone time are what I enjoy about running.

I’ve been having a hard time because the workouts just don’t feel as hard and so I have this fear that I’m losing everything and becoming a lazy bum.


But if I want to get back to running, I need to do what the doctor orders. Taking it easy is what is called for so that my foot can heal. Otherwise, the long term effects could be worse. So even though I told Josh that his recommendations were alarmist and I wouldn’t be following them…the truth is I will.

But I’m doing it because I want to not because he told me to…Just remember that.

“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”-Proverb


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