Am I allowed to miss running?
The last week or so has seen the 5k challenge doing the rounds. If you haven’t seen this the aim is to run 5k, donate £5 and nominate five people to do the challenge themselves.
As someone who lost the ability to walk two years ago and has subsequently fought to get it back, I was left wondering ‘Am I allowed to miss running?’
What I mean by this is as I watch siblings, friends and family doing the challenge and joining in on this lockdown confined adventure, am I wrong to feel sadness at not being able to join in? I lost the ability to walk February 2018 after a psychological breakdown triggered functional neurological disorder. I am in pain every day and some days severely so. I can walk again, and I know I am lucky to be able to do so. I am deeply grateful that I am able to walk again, no matter how much it hurts sometimes.
I guess I feel like if I let myself miss being able to do more, then that is ungrateful to the walking I can do. After being able to walk again I vowed to never take it for granted. Is missing running taking it for granted? Before losing the ability to walk I was physically fit. I grew up playing football and every sport I could. I worked out everyday and ran every week on the treadmill. Fitness and being physically active was a huge part of my life. It no longer is, and I thought I had made peace with that.
This conundrum of self-acceptance and also grieving for what I cannot do reminds me of the same balance with being autistic. There is a constant balance between pushing yourself to do more, striving to do better, and accepting what is.
I could no more run a 5k than I could lift the house I’m sitting in. It’s done, my fitness days are done. I think it’s okay to let myself feel some sadness over that. To grieve a part of my life I have lost. But that needs to be temporary. I have felt sadness and not being able to do this 5k challenge and now need to let it go. As with being autistic there will be things in life, I want to do but I cannot. Feeling the triggered emotions is healthy, agonising over them and letting them consume your mind is not.
I am always very quick to tell myself that there are many people in way worse situations than mine. There are many people for example that can’t walk. Again, I do not think this mindset is healthy. Yes, there are those in worse situations, but that doesn’t change mine. I lost the ability to be physically active at 26 and I don’t think I have ever let myself stop and be sad about it. To grieve a loss. This 5k challenge has triggered some deep-rooted anger at life being unfair and taking that from me. I think it’s okay I have let myself feel that and can now try to move on.
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