Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game, which brings you little, to no joy. Luckily, Iv never been one to feel envy or competitiveness in everyday life. But since my operation just 6 days ago, Iv found myself worrying profusely, where I should be, at this stage of recovery, in comparison to others. I think it began at the hospital, when the nurse told me on day 1 ” You should be using your crutches, not me supporting your leg you know” whilst I sat crying in pain, as it was the first time I had moved since the operation. At this point I hadn’t even seen a physiotherapist to show me how to use crutches safely, so she was wrong, but I still worried about the words ”should be.” On day 3 I felt extreme nausea from the pain and the physiotherapist said, ” You should be lifting your leg alone, as your going home today.” And I thought should I ?! Well I couldn’t. On the day I was discharged I felt wobbly and sick, which is obviously expected, Id just had my leg broken and screwed back together. But on arriving home, using crutches, one wrong move, and I felt my leg give way from under me, I hit the pavement. Iv never felt pain like it. And as I laid in the street, I thought ” You should be doing better than this ”
So it hasn’t been the best of weeks, but of course no first post surgery week ever is. But to make matters worse when I got home and recovered from the fall, I spent most of my time looking online at others who have had this operation, ( a TTT & MPFL reconstruction) to see what stage they were at by day 5. Yes this is great for guidance, advice and support, but the direct comparisons made me feel awful. I had others telling me how high they could lift their leg by day 3, or how far they could bend it on day 4, when I was finding both IMPOSSIBLE to do.
My mood dropped, I felt anxious, sad. I had done that to myself.
When you compare your journey to someone else’s, you instantly set yourself up to feel unhappy, But I’ve woken up today with a clearer mind and with a vow to start over. I have learnt from this. And I know learning to walk again in an alignment my leg has never been since birth, is going to be strange, painful and slow. I understand that my lack of patience and comparing, is really just a fear that I wont get to where I want to be. Which I will. Maybe not as soon as ‘Sue’ and her bendy leg. But I’ll get there.
So whether you find yourself comparing your surgery recovery, your mental health recovery, that new mums waist line to yours, or just the place you are in, in life. When you catch yourself doing this. STOP. And tell yourself, we are all on our own journeys, at our own pace, and as long as we are trying our best to reach our own realistic goals, then that’s all we can do.
A better focus is on what you are already blessed with, and how far you have actually come. As I mentioned last Sunday, Sundays are a great time to re-energise, reflect and re focus. Looking at both what you have achieved, and that you are grateful for, no matter how bad the week has been, (just look a little harder.) This week for me, I
Going through with an operation that I have put off since the age of 17.
I managed to walk to the bathroom on crutches (no brace) on day 2, which on day 1, I never thought I would do.
I managed to bounce back from a nasty fall quite quickly.
I haven’t cried today (so far)
My boyfriend – So far he’s been my rock, carer, chef, cleaner and my best friend.
My friends and family – For the cards, support and little pick me ups. I am aware of what a privilege this is.
The kindness of strangers – When I fell in the street, two strangers helped my boyfriend carry me to my sofa, they couldn’t bend my leg and I was making no sense, so it was very slow and they were so patient and kind.
Peppermint tea and ginger biscuits – Try these for nausea. God send.
My kitten – Despite trying to jump near my leg, the one place she shouldn’t, she means well, and her little morning purrs have made me smile.
So give it a go yourself, put pen to paper, and if you to, have been comparing your journey to others, then start over today. Remember a flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it.
It just blooms. x