January 17, 2021

Am I allowed to miss running?

By rosieweldon

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.

Found this blog helpful? You can support my writing and say thanks by buying me a coffee 🙂