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Facing the Fear of Going Back

The famous author Agatha Christie once said, “Never go back to a place where you have been happy. Until you do it remains alive for you. If you go back it will be destroyed.” But what if that place is a place where you hurt yourself? Are you willing to go back? I broke my right talus bone at a spot aptly called Hospital Flat (read the story here), which is about 20 minutes from where we live. I often bike there when I’m training, but it took me a long time before I was able to visit the place of the accident. Just thinking about it made me feel weak and scared. My hands would get sweaty and my heart rate would go up. I really know how difficult it is to go back to that place where you got hurt. But I knew I did not want to stay in that state. I wanted to move on and have the best recovery possible. We all need to face our fears if we want to move on and progress.

So if you’re still in that scary place, continue reading! I am sharing with you the steps I did to overcome my fear and visit the place where I broke my ankle. I know you want the best recovery for yourself, right? If I could do it, then these steps can definitely help you too!

The steps that will help you to overcome the fear and visit the place of your accident. Click To Tweet

STEP 1: Cut The Negative Thoughts

So the very first step you need to do is to get rid of any negative thought you have in your head. Stop imagining the place together with the worst scenario that could have happened to you. Cut any “what ifs” in your head. Just stop.

If you keep thinking of negative thoughts, you are boxing yourself into this dark space where you cannot progress or move forward.

I used to live in that dark box. I played mind games where I thought how things could have ended up differently. I imagined falling harder and spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair. At some point, I even came up with a scenario where I could have died and I was in that dark place for weeks. But then I decided to switch on the light and just get out of that place. I was alive and I had a broken ankle but I certainly wasn’t progressing in my recovery by living with negative thoughts. So whatever negative thoughts you have, write them all down on a piece of paper, then throw them away! Or burn them – do whatever helps you visualize those dark thoughts leaving you.

STEP 2: Visualize

Once you’ve thrown away your negative thoughts, you can now start visualizing the bright future that is still ahead of you. I started visualizing myself in the spot of the accident. Did I immediately feel better? Definitely no! The first time I did such a visualization was a complete failure. I got really scared and nervous. It’s completely normal. So I began to find ways to calm myself before I visualized the place again. It took me months to master this. I kept reminding myself that I was okay and safe. I knew that once I could imagine myself in the place, then I could visit it for real. I did not rush myself to go out to the place of the accident because just imagining it made me really scared! So I had to prepare myself.

Now, if the accident happened inside your home or a place you visit regularly then the case is a little different. You have to be ready to calm yourself and visualize a positive scenario. Talk to your mind and yourself. Remind yourself that you are in a safe place. You may feel scared and uncomfortable but you will be safe in that place again. Have a positive mantra. Write it down, post it on your bedroom wall, or even make it your phone’s wallpaper. Whatever works to help you be calm and positive.

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STEP 3: Be There Alone

The last step may be the hardest step if you have not done Step 1 and 2. This is when you have to face your fear and go to that place. It might be better to go alone – this definitely helped me to conquer my fears. Talk to your family or your friends if they want to come with you. Remember they are just concerned about your welfare, so give them the assurance that you will be okay. Let them know how important that moment will be for you. If the place is at home or at work, tell your family or co-workers that you need a moment. They will respect you for that.

The last thing you need to understand is that overcoming a traumatic memory takes time, so don’t be hard on yourself if you need to do this step more than once – it gets better and you will get there in the end.

Now it’s your turn: I would love to read your story and hear about your challenges or maybe even how you overcame your fear of revisiting the place of your accident. Share it – it might be just the thing someone else needs to hear!!

With love xx

Dr. Maya

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  1. Maya! You are the greatest source of positive navigation for me through my ankle joint woes! Overuse injury on my fixed gear bicycle (mostly improper fit/overpronation) caused stress fractures of my talus and medial malleolus during a 46 mile ride in Northern California. I was so set on completing the ride, which I did! I would have been much more down on the situation had it not been for finding your journal logs and IG…have caused me to go veggie again and cut out unhealthy habits. Although non-displaced fractures…I was NWB in the medical boot on crutches for 10 weeks after about 5 months of improper diagnosis. What a long road, and more healing to come, but seriously…thank you for posting your story. I walk for 30 mins most nights and follow a bunch of your flexibility tips. Pain is still there, and like you know, a looong healer that damm Talus (gawdddam!)

    Looking forward to more of your storytelling, and to work back up to my 3-4 miles runs and hopefully a big bike adventure once I feel 100.

    Thank you for being such a rare find and keep your head up!

    1. Dr. Maya Novak

      Paul, thank you for sharing your story with me and others! Wow – this has been a long ride for you. But what I know is that sooner or later I’m gonna read about your ultimate success story. I know you’re capable of that and thank you for letting me be a part of your recovery. xx

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