Getting it off my chest: costochondritis, trich, and starting again from Day 1!

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I’ll apologise first for the huge ramble, but sometimes you just have to get it all out there! (Thankfully, this community is supportive enough to do that in!)

I remember starting this year 100% positively – just achieved my Master’s degree, found a great job, got my trichotillomania (hair pulling) under control after four years struggle, established my perfect exercise routine. Until I was hit by severe costochondritis. I didn’t even know you could get inflammation in the chest joint until I felt how much it hurt (it can be so severe people go to A&E believing they’re having a heart attack). Since then, things have spiralled. Badly. I’ve had costo consistently for five months now, and only this month am I having more pain-free days than not. It’s been so bad I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to have a day when I’m not in pain. This has meant no workouts. Even stretching has caused too much strain on my chest until this month. I have never craved HIIT more in my life!! It’s been so hard not being able to strength train, something I’ve completely fallen in love with since finding FB over 5 years ago. So no workouts has meant the good ol’ black dog has moved back in, and so my trich is more severe than it has ever been. To top it all off? My job isn’t extending my contract next month. With my partner returning to university to study next month too, it’s left 100% uncertainty on whether I’ll be able to find something at the same wage to afford the roof over our heads.

I guess not only am I starting from Day 1 with workouts again, but also everything else too. I can’t control the fact I have costo, or that my job isn’t permanent. But this week I’ve realised I have a lot to be grateful for in the middle of all this. For one thing, I’ve allowed enough recovery that my chest is better enough for me to start (super slowly) back into working out again. I won’t lie – things are impossibly hard at the moment, and it won’t be easy to get everything back under control. But I do know that, when I do push myself through the rubbish (and I will!) I can be proud of getting through the struggle and appreciate how strong I am for it. It’s really let me understand that progress is rarely linear, and that is absolutely fine. I’m back at Day 1, sure, but what I’ve lost in physical strength, I’ve gained in mental resilience. Truly, I’ll bet this won’t be my last Day 1 either. And that’s okay too. After all, every re-start is still a step in the right direction.

Although this post is really just a bit of catharsis for myself, I hope you can all try to see the positives in your own Day 1’s. It’s always okay to start again, because the important thing is that you’re actually re-starting at all. We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can make sure that these uncontrollable factors don’t affect the things that we can control. Accept the fall, look after yourself, and allow yourself the time to re-evaluate what you can do. Take things slowly, step by step from there. But importantly, allow the time to be proud of yourself and what your body and daily life gives you now, even if it’s not yet where you want to be.

And now, as much as I’m craving upper body strength (which will definitely bring on a costo flare up), I’ll settle for some just as beneficial low impact cardio and stretching. I’m going to be making a point of finding a little list of good things about every day this week. Things I’ve done, things that’ve made me smile, things I enjoy – anything! So in light of that, what little things are you guys grateful for this week?

tl;dr be kind to yourself, always. And never be ashamed to start from Day 1 (even if it’s your millionth).

I hope you’ve all had a good weekend!