Here are two facts about me:
1. I am extremely prone to motion sickness. One of my earliest memories is not being able to stomach a trip to the local mall. Side note: we had a behemoth 1975-ish Chevy Impala, I threw up, and my two older sisters turned into contortionists… to this day I don’t know how they got so far into the opposite corner of the back seat.
2. I can be an extremely excitable person, particularly when I believe I am being delivered an injustice of any kind. Smart-alecky friends have been known to take advantage of this fact, and start rumors such as “Josie is the president of the Robin Williams fan club,” just to see me all fired up.
Now, knowing these two facts, imagine how I reacted when my cousin told me I should just go on an amusement park ride, because, “motion sickness is all in your head, and you can talk yourself out of it.”
Perhaps I should take him up on his offer, and allow him to sit beside me as we ride, I’m pretty sure that would teach him!
This glimpse into some banal facts about me is really just a backdrop into the real topic: how much of what we deal with is “all in our heads?” Despite my outrage over my cousin’s commentary, I have come to realize that I believe this statement more than I realize. Except, of course, when it comes to motion sickness.
One example, and I know I am going to raise a few eyebrows with this one, but I personally have a hard time with the disease concept of alcoholism. I am allowed to say that, since I am an alcoholic, along the same lines as: I can criticize my family, but you better not try. I certainly believe that I had an obsession, that, try as I did, I could not expel. I believe that if I choose to alter my mind again with a substance, that obsession will return, but disease? That is one that confounds this alcoholic. I don’t waste a lot of time on it, just like I don’t waste a lot of time wondering when I crossed the line from enjoying a drink to craving one… I just did, that is my reality, and I will, for today, deal with my reality.
But I find the “all in your mind” mentality pervades other areas of my life, and I’m wondering if it’s something I need to explore. Most recent example, and I have been giving periodic updates, but I have embarked on a fitness program. Long story short, I have gone from zero exercise to considering participating in a 5k. August was to be dedicated to training for this event, to see how much of a 5k I could run (versus walking), and how low I could get my time down. In my mind, if I could run at least half, and get my time under 45 minutes, I was set to do it.
And then, out of nowhere, I sustained an injury. I really mean out of nowhere, because I still don’t know what the hell happened. One minute, I’m jogging, the next minute, I almost fell over, because my leg couldn’t support me.
I could go into boring detail, but who really cares? I am not a physical therapist, and I have never, and I mean never, been an athletic person, so I have never dealt with a sports injury of any kind. So I look to my fellow supporters who have dealt with this, and I take every suggesting they give me (except go to the doctor, that is a last resort, and a topic for another post).
After an entire week of resting it, stretching it, icing it, I attempt to resume my training (treadmill this time). Within 3 minutes, the pain is back, and I am limping again.
Again, long story short, I try everything I can think of, but the minute my legs go into running mode, this pain comes back. So my husband, quite logically, says, “Well then just walk.” Sensible, right?
But, and here is the real point: I can’t wrap my mind around it. Seriously. I know it’s ridiculous, but I can’t make myself grasp the concept that I am restricted from the activity of running. I just keep thinking that I can figure out a way past this injury.
It’s this kind of thinking that reminds me that I’m an alcoholic, and that I will never be “cured” (of the disease that I still question in theory!). The normal person would just see that running is not working, and switch to another form of exercise. My thinking? I can beat this leg injury, dammit! Nothing so stupid is going to keep me from this goal!
I am off to meet a friend (from AA) for a walk in the same park I sustained my injury. I am going to explain this thought process to her, and she is (hopefully) going to help me see the error in my thinking.
The progress: that I know that there is an error in my thinking.
That I am choosing exercise over sitting around, that I am meeting a friend from AA with whom to exercise, and that I will choose walking over re-injuring myself until I can figure this whole thing out!