In a life spent dedicated to serving and helping others there will come moments where you will have to listen to your own advice and take your own medicine. It brings a realisation that as good as the advice is it can be hard to action. Is that because the advice is hard to implement or because it is coming from yourself? Maybe both. One thing is for certain being in limbo about almost anything is mentally draining and a tough mental states to be in.
When you put yourself out there for everyone to see the highs and lows of what you are trying to accomplish it can be a very fragile place. The fact that at any moment this could all be over and just a pipe dream due to a debilitating injury. Alongside the personal disappointment sneaks in thoughts of what others think. ‘He was never going to make it.’ ‘He is always getting injured.’ Even if you tell yourself to not be concerned with the opinions of others (real or most likely imagined by yourself) these thoughts can still sneak in. Just to make the point that these thoughts you have of other people's opinion are most likely to be projections of what you are thinking about yourself in that moment. How could you possibly know what other people are thinking? Is it 100% true that is what other people are thinking? Are you a mind reader?
It is a tough psychological battle, a deep wormhole that you can fall into worrying what you think other people might be thinking about you. In the moment you might give yourself some advice. ‘Don’t concern yourself with the opinion of others.’ but is that really helping to solve the problem? It may provide some brief relief but it hasn’t solved the cause of the issue.
A potential way to deter these worries is to be nice to yourself, remind yourself as to why you were doing this in the first place. Let yourself know ‘it is ok to fail this challenge. Documenting and sharing both the wins and losses might actually help someone. Accomplish or fail the challenge it doesn’t really matter, the task is to help people and if people can learn through observing you dealing with failure then that is a job well done.’ This can alleviate some of the worries along with the reminder that you can’t be certain of other people's opinions.
Still pissed off though. Being in limbo is a struggle because you don’t have a next move.
Allowing yourself to regain an understanding of the purpose of this challenge brings some relief but you still don’t know why this injury has occured, you don’t know the severity of it and your mind wanders ‘this could all be finished before it even starts.’
This is the difficult part, your mind has gone straight to the most debilitating news, it goes straight to fearing the worst. You could ask yourself ‘What would you say to a friend/client?’
Is it 100% true that this injury is as bad as you fear?
Is it 100% true that what you fear will happen is going to happen?
The answer is clearly no, this could be just a tight muscle/tendon causing friction over a joint that can be massaged and rolled out along with further rehab work (this is what it was). You could be running next week but your mind doesn’t go to that it goes straight to fearing the worst ‘This has to be cartilage damage, I am certain of it (how can you possible be certain, do you have a physiotherapy degree?!) that means months on the sidelines. That’s it challenge over!.’ No matter how much you understand the questions and how you can only answer ‘no’ it doesn’t bring the relief you hoped it would. Fearing the worst can then lead you to further troubling ideas ‘What are you going to do now?’ ‘This year was based around this run!’ You are now feeling lost without direction or purpose. Things we deeply crave, a purpose in life, a meaning, growth. Not lack of direction and stagnation.
Maybe you can find some relief by reminding yourself that you can still help and serve others through different means. This can bring some mild relief and does actually help you continue on your chosen path and reignite your desire for purpose. But there is still that annoyance and disappointment looming overhead.
We can try to alleviate the psychological struggles of being in limbo through the above reminders and questions, these can go some way to impacting us positively. However there is still this cloud hanging over our heads. We don’t know.
Seeking professional advice was the first move. The injury occured on Tuesday and the appointment was available that Friday, which is actually a quick turnaround. All the above worrying and psychological turmoil occured over the space of 3 and a half days. It is amazing the direction your thoughts can take in such a short space of time.
As soon as the injury was diagnosed and there was an action plan in place the cliche of a ‘weight off my shoulders’ or ‘the days seems brighter’ were true. The cloud from above had disappeared and the fears had been alleviated. Relief.
The questions you ask yourself and fearing the worst is difficult. You throw your best advice at yourself but the cloud still hangs over your head. This cloud follows you and starts to impact other parts of your life. Work becomes a struggle, a job where you are supposed to be helping other people but you are struggling to help yourself. You can become lazy, work productivity can go down, you want to avoid doing anything with meaning and all you want to do is wallow in self pity. It sounds a bit dramatic but it’s true, this is what it can feel like to not know.
Could it be the conversations we have in our own heads and using our own medicine that gets you off your arse and go to work when we don’t want to? The reminder might go something as follows ‘sitting on your arse isn’t going to help you or anyone else’ or ‘it will be interacting with others and doing your job that will help you.’ This advice is true. You get off your arse, you talk with people you do something productive and it has the potential to snowball.
If you are in limbo this sort of advice and conversation will not solve the problem but it might make it a little bit less shit. They might be just the thoughts you need to not wallow in self pity. They might just help you to do what you know is right even if you don’t want to.