As usual it’s been a while since I’ve written but here goes it.
This one is a bit more serious and super personal but I felt like sharing to allow others to see that all that glitters isn’t always gold.
I currently work in professional sport and often high pressure and stress environment daily. When I first started the job I put exceptional pressure on myself to “do everything right”, to not make mistakes, to stay on top of everything… except taking care of myself.
As a physio working with a professional team, we often spend long hours taking care of 14-20 players at a time and put self care on the back burner. Well, it definitely caught up to me and I paid for it big time.
Our team was in preparation for a World Cup defense and that was my sole focus and the focus of everyone on the team. I had to make sure I had all players fit and available to play this very special defense on our home soil in the Caribbean.
I spent long hours working daily, minimal time catching up with family and friends and little to no time on myself or doing things that I enjoyed.
I felt I needed to focus all of my energy on my team and its performances.
We came to the end of that World Cup which ended prematurely in a semifinal defeat to current champions Australia and to say the least I felt relieved but strangely unfulfilled and… empty.
It was indescribable…
I returned home to family and friends and should have been happy but I felt lost. It had been an entire year and I felt like I missed out on valuable moments with them. I felt isolated… I was unsure of how to have conversations with the people closest to me… I felt like a horrible friend, sister, daughter and person.
Christmas holidays came around and that year I was terribly uninterested, I began to have very negative thoughts and didn’t want to socialise as I usually would at this time of year. I didn’t even feel to celebrate my birthday and anyone who knows me knowss I go over the top for birthdays. I love a celebration.
I wasn’t quite sure what was happening to me but I knew it wasn’t a good feeling… needless to say I wasn’t myself but no one seemed to notice or… if they did no one said anything to me.
Soo I just went along thinking it would just pass… I was wrong… dead wrong.
Christmas ended and the New Year begun, I had little to no excitement about this, I didn’t write down my new year plans/ goals as is customary, I was just going through the motions… existing.
I returned to work and preparations began once again for another series against Pakistan. I’ve always wanted to visit Pakistan (against most persons beliefs) to see a very close friend of mine from university and I’ve always wanted to see Dubai… because well who doesn’t want to go to Dubai and ride ATVS and camels in the desert?!
This however was my breaking point, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t focus on work, my mind was constantly racing and I was just extremely exhausted trying to rearrange my thoughts and focus on work. I never ever thought I would have to decline an opportunity to work with my team or worse, an opportunity to see not only Pakistan but Dubai as well.
I had to… there was no way I could travel half way around the world in the state that I was in without it being a complete disaster and embarrassment to myself. 😔 After speaking with many persons close to me I decided to do what was best for me and that was to withdraw from the tour and head home for some much needed rest and professional help for what had now become unbearable anxiety and depression.
I’ve always had some awareness of mental health and mental illness but I always wished it never happened to me. Little did I know that I was doing nothing to preserve my own mental health. I would preach to my patients about taking time to find activities they love and enjoy doing but never did it for myself. After seeking professional help from a therapist and taking medication I slowly found myself being me again.
The stigma associated with mental health and illness is slowly decreasing and I’m always happy to see others sharing stories of their own personal struggles and triumphs.
I know many people who think sports and travel is glamorous but there’s way more to it that meets the eye.
I’m thankful for my friends, family, colleagues and therapists who helped me through this tough time and genuinely happy to have learnt that I can’t do it all on my own and it’s ok to ask for help sometimes.
For other physios out there here are a couple tips I’ve learnt to include to avoid this happening again:
• set boundaries and working times for yourself and clients
• schedule time to do things you enjoy
• talk to people you can trust about your feelings and mood
• make time to exercise and eat mindfully
• give yourself time ALONE
• get help from a professional (doctor, therapist, psychologist)
• be honest with yourself
Thanks to https://www.theanxiousphysio.com/ for inspiring me to write my own blog on this familiar issue physios face but don’t seem to talk openly about.
I’ll just end by saying.. be kind.. always… ❤️
you never know what battles another person may be facing.