HOW AN INJURY CAN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

I have forever had issues with my knees. Swelling, pains, clicks, and locks, well the lot you name it.  I have seen doctors abroad and in the UK, private and NHS. The problem with a knee pain is no one really knows what they are looking for. Therefore the possibilities could be endless. However this has rarely affected my daily life and routine. I am generally able to do most things, living a very active lifestyle. 16 hours on my feet, gym, swim and partaking in many social activities. Yet of course I still take caution, as with weak knees comes easy damage. I have had problem after problem from torn cruciate ligaments to thinning cartilages. Yes unfortunately it is rare for me to go the course of a year without being in crutches!

Late last year I sustained an injury to my knee  whilst partaking in a light jog, which is currently undergoing scans. Although this will not solve my underlying issue, this has ended up having a huge impact on me and my life! Of course there will be some major impacts as it effects my walking, my exercise, pretty much everything I do. However sustaining an injury can have a profound effect on your mental health too.

HOW AN INJURY CAN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

I decided to study some research of my own and what I found generally tended to support what I was feeling. Although research in this area is slim and in the early days, I was able to link back to the psychological impact of injuries. An article written by Margot Putukian, the director of athletic medicine and head team physician at Princeton University, claims that

‘For some student-athletes, the psychological response to injury can trigger or unmask serious mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, disordered eating, and substance use or abuse.’

Now I am well aware that this article is associated with athletes, however I do feel that the same principles can apply to those who lead a rather active lifestyle, and their work depends on their physical health. I found once I got injured I fell into a downward spiral. The mobile lifestyle that I held, with the opportunity to maintain my weight and fitness levels was stripped away and I felt completely and utterly lost. In a piece on Live Strong, Linda Purves suggests

‘that the sudden loss of physical activity in your life can create a psychological state that has been likened to the grieving process.’

This of course maybe deeper for athletes. However yet again, I am sure anyone whose lifestyle has been affected by an injury can relate to some of these steps. For me from the start I certainly felt desperation, I wanted to keep pushing no matter what and ignore the problem. Purely because as someone who has already suffered from depression and anxiety, the release of serotonin I gain when working out massively improves my state of mind.

The next stage goes into depression suggesting that an injury can leave a void in ones life. This can certainly be agreeable, as someone who leads a mobile life, daily workout routines, walks and social outings. Not to mention running a blog on health and fitness, I had nothing left to fill my day with. This links to the downwards spiral, all my mind focused on was how I could not maintain my figure and my blog. This not only led to depression but serious body issues. My confidence was at an all time as was my mood. I could not even walk to the shop without my knee ballooning up. This led to endless days in bed doing sweet FA and becoming very unhealthy. That is because everything I do is associated with health and lifestyle and that has been postponed.

It soon came to the point where I had to accept my issue. Although for me the results are not in and unfortunately I could have this issue the rest of my life. Finally speaking with the Dr and getting some clear answers was enough for me. My anxiety had stopped me doing even the smallest of workouts in fear of long lasting damage. However I slowly found there were some activities that do not carry as bigger burden on my knee than heading to the gym. Activities like light yoga, which also worked wonders for my mental state. Also swimming using a kick float so my arms were bearing the most of my body weight.

These are the things that are slowly leading to my rehabilitation, of body and of mind. Whilst the though of surgery maybe looming, there could just be a lifetime of physiotherapy. The point is I had to find other ways to try an maintain my lifestyle, without pushing my healing body too far. There should be a lot more studies carried out on this matter. As we can see, this can have a deepened effect on some individuals.  As Putukian claims there are other issues that can arise such as eating disorders and substance abuse.  

If you suffer from an injury and it has a dramatic effect on you and your lifestyle? Then do not shy away talking to somebody. That person could just life you out of that vicious cycle. I really wanted to share this as so many people suffer from injuries daily and be left feeling a sense of loss. People may suffer a lot more on the inside and be hurting in more ways than just their injury.

Have you been severely affected by an injury? Has it changed the way you lead your lifestyle? I would love to know in the comments below! 

References taken from :

http://www.ncaa.org/health-and-safety/sport-science-institute/mind-body-and-sport-how-being-injured-affects-mental-health

http://www.livestrong.com/article/132462-the-psychology-sports-injuries/

 

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33 thoughts on “HOW AN INJURY CAN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

  1. Wow, this is a really eye opening piece of writing. I haven’t had a serious injury so I can’t relate but thank you for taking the time to talk about this x

    1. Lolamia

      Thanks. Its my first serious personal piece so glad you liked it x

  2. I love this post. It’s so true, there’s not much in terms of research on this at all. Even drs aren’t too clued up on it. I was in a car accident when I was in my teens which just made my chronic back pain which I’ve had since around 7 years old even worse. I was born with my ankle twisted in as well so the impact of the whole crash affected both of these problems. The injury really hot me hard with my MH. I suffer anxiety of cars especially as well and always feel really depressed when I can’t do as much as I want to due to lasting repucutions from my injury. I’m so glad you have highlighted this issue! Fab post

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

    1. Lolamia

      Hi Jordanne. Thanks so much for your support on this! Finding any research was so hard it was all based on athletes, however it effects normal people and normal lives. Especially if it stops you doing the things you want or the tings you used to. Yes the Drs are not all that great either its taken so many trips to the drs for years for them to sort my knee out! Its something that can really bring you down and I often get trapped in a vicious circle! I hope this will help others maybe discuss how they are feeling or realise they are not alone! x

  3. Lovely post. As someone who hasn’t had a serious injury, its easy to think that its all very physical. It’s such a good topic for you to write about.

    xxx

    1. Lolamia

      Thanks Fran. I dont think people so realise the mental effects it can have even a small injury! x

  4. As a person who has been affected by an injury, I can say that I have sometimes felt depressed and I still struggle with anxiety. Great post, Lolita.

    1. Lolamia

      Thanks Jeff. Unfortunately I feel its something that will stay with you. I think I will be forever anxious! x

  5. Jessica

    This is a very insightful piece. It’s easy to forget about the mental impact of an injury so thank you for sharing xx

  6. Loving your post about the mental impact during an injury! Really can relate to that! 🙂
    xoxo Annaleid

  7. Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day.
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    from their sites.

  8. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information.
    Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  9. Wow a really eye opening post! I would have never thought about a physical injury affecting mentally, thanks for the insight hunny. I hope you get something sorted with your knee sounds painful to go through all of that. Love Leigh |

  10. I like how you blended the physical to the mental in this post; it’s not often something that’s seen a lot in posts, I feel.

    Lydia
    Mademoisellewomen.wordpress.com

    1. Lolamia

      Thank you thats the issue I really wanted to highlight and many people do not put the two together very often! x

  11. Kim

    This post was really eye opening to read! I’m sure this will help a lot on people be more considerate of others in the future 💖

    1. Lolamia

      Thank you. I really do hope so 🙂 x

  12. Oh my gosh I am so sorry to read about this! It sounds awful having something wrong but never really pinpointing what… I can’t imagine what you’ve been through, and I’m not too sure what else to say apart from wishing you all the best and hope that you can pick yourself up again soon.

    1. Lolamia

      Yes its stressful sometimes as its nice to have something to blame :). I just have to focus my energy on positive things .. like my blog 🙂 x

  13. I’m so sorry you have to deal with your body not co-operating when your mind wants to be active and happy 🙁 I fortunately haven’t dealt with any damage muscular/skeletal but ever since I got glandular fever I have been ill since for a year and I totally understand where you’re coming from in terms of if impacting your mental health 🙁

    Stay strong lovely, it’s hard accepting a small burden but we become stronger as a result <3 xx

    sophieannetaylor.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Lolamia

      Thanks honey. I hope you never do. I feel for you however glandular fever can be a nasty thing and have really bad effects. I am sure you face struggles in daily life when it flairs up. You too be strong and sometimes clouds have a silver lining! x

  14. I so relate to this. My knee started hurting this summer, for no reason I could pinpoint. It’s funny how I took my knees for granted until I was in constant pain! So hard too because it’s impossible to stay completely off it- I have to walk! I constantly have anxiety of it happening again. It’s incredible how long knee injuries take to heal! Stay healthy, and thanks for sharing the mental struggles. If my knee ever flares up again (seems likely) I hope I can turn to you for commiseration <3

    1. Lolamia

      Oh how I feel for you! The thing is as well its not healthy to completely stay off it as thats when your joints will stiffen up! Its a scary situation – turns out mine is chronic so I will constantly have the worry and fear and not be able to go for a beloved run! I hope it never returns but if you need someone to chat too. x

  15. Hi, what a great post. So often the physical part of an injury is focused on and the psychological impact is often forgotten, Chloe #TeacupClub

    1. Lolamia

      Yes it really is. I think more help and support is needed x

  16. Ashley

    It’s so interesting to read about physical things effecting your mental health. More research definitely need to be put into this, for sure. Such a great piece f writing!

    Ashley x

    1. Lolamia

      Thanks hun! People do not normally realise the effect it can have! x

  17. Wow! such a deep article, thankyou for sharing that, im so sorry to hear about the annual crutches. This goes to show though what a strong person you are!
    Much love sent your way lovely lady xx

    1. Lolamia

      Awe thank you so much that means a lot! At least it gives me arms muscles and a seat on the tube haa! Thanks you for the kind words x

  18. Thank you so much for posting this in our blog comment thread last month! We just loved reading this because it sheds light on a topic that needs it. Such a heartfelt and powerful post.

    BloggersTribe xoxo
    http://www.bloggerstribe.com

    1. Lolamia

      Awww thank you so much guys that means a lot! You are so supportive so thanks for all the hard work you put in x

  19. I can relate to this article on so many levels! I have been through a couple of frustrating running related injuries and have experienced temporary depression because I was unable to pursue my passion. Not only that, but running has also become part of my identity. In the end, I overcame my low point by focussing on other aspects of fitness such as experimenting with new healthy recipes, perfecting my cooking skills and trying lower impact classes. A good physio is also real must!

    1. Lolamia

      I am glad you find it relatable. Its so frustrating isnt it. I have hurt a few times working out so it meant I was on crutches (although these kept my quiet strong and fit) Its very difficult when your life revolves around being active! I agree I am due to see my physio soon and have started light exercises like yoga and swimming! Hopefully it means I can focus on my blog and writing projects more x

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