This is the blog I always wanted to write. It's official I'm going to my first Olympic Games!
...2 years and a few edits later
This is the blog I never wanted to write. It's official I'm not going to my first World Cup!
How time can change in 2 years
2016: the biggest making a squad of my career
2018: the biggest missing out on a squad of my career
Concussion...doing pretty well currently on messing up my 2018.
I'd dreamt of this year year being filled with fun, laughter and some pretty cool tournaments - my first Commonwealth Games and my first World Cup. Instead of a dream, it's turned into a bit of a nightmare.
On the pitch, concussion has been disruptive. It has ruled me out of the Commonwealth Games and now the World Cup. Off the pitch it's been pretty disruptive too. I bumped into someone I know recently in town, making small talk as you do. He asked me what I've been up to recently. I was a bit stumped at the question. 'Literally nothing,' I answered, 'I've been a bit of a hermit for 5 months.'
During a rehab, I've never ever had to make so many sacrifices to get myself right as for this one. Not being able to do normal things normal people do and live a normal life. I've consistently been having to cancel, change and alter plans - holidays, flights, appearances, school visits, social plans, even just going out for a coffee or to dinner. Concussion makes the plans and rules over all of these. For the last 5 months, Ive not been able to plan much further than 1, maybe 2, days ahead. It's a relentless sequence.
You go to bed, wake up and see how you feel. Really not good, pretty symptomatic. Plans for the day will have to change. Protect yourself from noises, light, maybe just stick around the flat for the day and rest up, take it easy. The day finishes. You go to bed, wake up and see how you feel. Good today. No initial headache, great. Lets drive into training and see what I can do. You just don't know how you are going to wake up or feel from one day to the next. It feels like a guessing game but not a very fun one.
Since finding out I wouldn't be going to the World Cup, tears have flowed and it's been tough - especially the week after I found out. I wallowed on the sofa for a week and was just a general slob. I suffered with zero motivation and binged watched nearly the whole of Netflix. I was worlds apart from my usual motivated, get up and go kinda person.
I wasn't angry during the week or constantly wondering why I wasn't going or fighting the decision that had been made. I just lacked serious motivation to do anything. What I felt was just acceptance. It sounds a bit strange writing that. I didn't really fight the decision, I didn't battle against it, I just accepted it as I knew it was the right one.
I guess I kind of stepped back and looked at my situation as an outsider with no emotion involved. It allowed me to process and rationalise things. As Headspace teaches us, acceptance does not mean to sit back and do nothing. It is to see things clearly, recognising when action is required and when it is not.
After a week of wallowing, I read an article which helped find my motivation again. It's written by a Rio Olympian finding their motivation during a tough time, finding their #LittleWins. Scroll down to bottom to read it.
Each day I'm feeling more and more motivated to get my health back and conquer my concussion. I've found daily pleasures again from finding my #LittleWins and am feeling good.
One thing I've tried to do the past 5 months is to be positive and grateful in order to keep things in perspective. There's always things in life to be grateful for, some days you just have to dig a little deeper to find them.
I think we don't tell people enough how grateful we are. So here's me sharing who and what I'm grateful for:
I'm grateful to the whole support staff and team we have at Bisham Abbey and the English Insititute of Sport. To all the doctors I've seen, I'm grateful for your supportive, professional care and attention during this whole process. You've all helped me understand what concussion is all about, the physical side and also the mental side. To the Physios for seeing me nearly every day - supporting me, listening and guiding me through my rehab programme. To our Strength and Conditioning coaches, I'm grateful for sometimes just chatting random rubbish, making jokes and also keeping me strong in the gym. To our nutritionist, psychologist and lifestyle advisor, and others in the Bisham building, for just listening and helping me see light at the end of the tunnel during some dark weeks. To our EIS receptionists - forever full of life, lightening things up and bringing laughter to Bisham everyday. And to everyone else that has supported, no matter how small, I am really grateful.
I'm grateful to the team mates who have understood about me cancelling plans, those who called me up, took me out for coffee, cheered me up, checked in to see how I am, just generally been there for me - I am very grateful to you all. To STX, for sending me 4 tubs of peanut butter! To all my family, I'm grateful to you for helping me put perspective on things and allowing me to escape the concussion for a while - cheers to all the DD gang. To my friends outside of hockey - I'm grateful for you helping me through, whether it be a long overdue phone call, a text here and there or just tagging me in some random crap on Instagram that makes me laugh. To my agent Jenny who has fully understood my needs at the moment as a human not an athlete. To my housemate Lauren. She didn't sign up to live with a hermit with concussion for 5 months! I'm grateful to her for genuinely caring, buying flowers and chocolate and simply just being there. Cheers gal!
And to everyone else that has supported me too. It's been tough but I've honestly felt really supported throughout this whole process and that doesn't always happen during rehab.
On that note, time to wrap up this much longer blog than I'd expected. But first... one last thing to touch upon..... The World Cup!
It will be a fabulous event and I'm sure London will really show what it has to offer. I'm fully behind the whole team and know how much work has been done on and off the training pitch to get the right results. If you have tickets, go there and make as much noise as possible. If not, get behind the girls either by cheering at the Fan Park on sight or watching the whole event on BT Sport.
It's now time to wave goodbye to blogging about concussion and say hello to Summer 2018. By the time I'm back blogging after Summer I hope my concussion is a distant memory!
Finding your #LittleWins