I fear I’m getting old. For everything hurts. A lot. Take last Saturday for example. I bent over in the kitchen to put some rubbish in the bin, only to discover I couldn’t stand up straight again. A sharp pain in the base of my back ensured that. Hobbling over to a nearby chair my watching wife and children reacted in the only way they knew how…they burst out laughing. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so settled for somewhere in between.
Almost a week later, the situation has improved. I’m still subject to a dull ache but Ibuprofen is my best friend and I’m a brave little soldier at the end of the day. I haven’t been able to run but am trying to maintain a daily 10,000 step regime on my Garmin. It’s frustrating but what can I do? Maybe my body is telling me something I’ve suspected for some time. You need to slow down, Stephen. Pain is a warning sign and it’s time I started paying attention to it.
My right knee has been bothering me for some time now. It’s fine during the actual act of running but afterwards is always stiff and sore. There are times I struggle to straighten my leg. I really should be icing it but am hopeful the enforced rest might help it. My days of marathon running are behind me but I still want to keep running in moderation for both my physical and mental well-being. How else would I get ideas for my writing?
Which brings me to my feet. I returned to full time work this week and bought a new pair of shoes two days ago. Breaking them in has been a painful process and I removed them yesterday evening to reveal two badly skinned big toes. I awoke this morning and gingerly inspected them. Ouch. I may have to resort to new depths and become a trainer wearing commuter, people I used to sneer in derision at. It serves me right for my snobby ways.
The shoes look good but make me feel bad. On the surface I resemble a reasonably normal member of the human race but inside I’m gritting my teeth and hobbling through the pain. There is no release, no relief, no respite. I just have to suck it up and struggle through the pain. The only break I get is when I take them off and tentatively massage my tender tootsies. Regular readers of this blog know I’m not one to complain though…oh alright then, maybe a little bit from time to time.
There are many of us walking about looking good on the outside but struggling badly beneath the surface. We hide the pain and bear the invisible wounds in stoic silence. I know that pain for I carried it for many years myself. OCD and grief left me on my knees. I resorted to quick fixes to ease the torment and, in doing so, turned my back on those who mattered most. I nearly lost it all but somehow survived thanks to the love and support of my family.
You might be in a similar position as you read this. It could be bereavement, addiction, unemployment, divorce, there are any number of reasons you feel there is nothing left to fight for. You don’t want to take another step, you’re tired of the loneliness and unceasing monotony of life. You’re on the brink of stepping off the conveyor belt and calling it a day. You have nothing left to give and just want a little peace and quiet.
Know this. You’re not alone. I’ve been there as have many others. It’s why I blog, why I write, even if only one person reads my words and knows my story. Knows there is hope and a weak, faltering light at the end of the tunnel. Words are my salvation, they allow me to exorcise the past and unveil a better future. Don’t suffer in silence. Pride is a killer. Swallow it and reach out. There are those of us who know and care. We want to help…if you will let us.