Here’s something you don’t hear very often: when you go through something traumatic, there are more side effects than you may have thought of.
I have been focusing so much on the emotional that the physical side effects have been overlooked. I’ve thought about money, my dad’s physical well being, my moms, the different jobs that have been effected, etc etc. But not until today did I think about the other side effects of trauma.
Not until I was on a treadmill, dying a mile into my run, did I slam the machine in frustration and yell a choice word did I realize the most annoying side effect.
My endurance is down the drain. Three months ago I could breeze through a 10k in less than 50 minutes and today I couldn’t do a 5k without walking at least twice. I’ve felt immense frustration for the progress lost in just a month. I think back to that week in Paris where I ate nothing but bread and chocolate all day every day and curse past Mattie, not even considering all that she was going through.
When I finished running two miles, having stopped twice, I inwardly yelled and wondered how and why I let myself fail so quickly? Then I paused and thought, seven months ago I was shocked and excited I could run a mile, so why am I so disappointed by two?
Last year, everything was progress. No matter what I had done, a mile in ten minutes, two miles in 19 minutes, whatever it was, it was a success. I was continually getting better.
Now, I know what I can do. I know I’m capable of running a 5k in 23 minutes, so a 5k in 27 minutes seems pathetic. I’ve lost grace with myself in the time where I honestly deserve it most. Nothing is progress because I’ve done it before. Nothing is exciting because even if I manage 2 miles in 17 minutes, I used to do 2 in 15 so really, it’s not a big deal. It’s actually just frustrating.
I’ll get it back. I’ll do better. I won’t give up, and I’ll have grace with myself.
If I had the flu for a month, would I be this hard on myself now? Sure, I would be upset and frustrated about progress lost, but no one would blame me, so why would I be blaming myself?
Sometimes we have a bit of a backslide and we think we will never be back to where we were. We go through a season where working out, or studying, or being productive, seems like the hardest thing in the world. We avoid it for a day and a day becomes two. And two days become three weeks. And suddenly we’ve slid back into a life we thought we’d escaped. It’s harder to get back to it than it was originally to start it. At least, it is for me.
But you can and I can. Each day is a new day and a new moment to conquer.
I know now that not only am I good at running, but I love it. So when I struggle to get myself to the gym, I wonder if I’m ever going to be the athlete I was three months ago. Not to mention, better than I was then. It’s ridiculous, really, that this is such a burden on me. So much so that I thought it warranted a blog post, but this is who I am and what I feel.
I must not be alone. And if I’m not alone, then you aren’t either.
Trauma comes with side effects. And that’s okay, because we live in a world where grace is bountiful.