I tore my meniscus in my knee once. I was young so I actually didn’t make much of the pain and foolishly ignored it. For years after my injury, I continued to play sports and would go through my everyday motions with a bad knee. The pain would flare up randomly but I dealt with it as best as I could. See, I didn’t treat my knee properly with surgery as I should have and even though the pain was initially bearable, I didn’t realize the long term damage I was doing. Every sport I attempted became more and more difficult because the pain in my knee would hinder me both physically and mentally. My agility and quickness diminished, my abilities suffered, and my confidence in any sport I was playing sank. Eventually, even my ability to complete everyday tasks was affected.
After 6 years of this, I finally decided to have surgery. The aftermath of the surgery was very painful in spite of having painkillers. The inability to even walk was frustrating and the feeling of absolute weakness was difficult. There were mornings I would wake up crying in pain. But — after roughly three months of rehab, my pain was gone. I no longer had to use a knee brace when playing any sport and I didn’t have any pain whatsoever. I was shocked at how well my knee had healed. It felt as though I had never hurt my knee.
We all have suffered a torn meniscus in some fashion in our lives – i.e. unresolved issues that we mask in various ways. Society today makes masking so easy – social media, Netflix, computers, TV – you name it. Our society is instant so whenever you want to be distracted, you are literally seconds away. Yet masking unresolved emotions only prolongs the pain. Not only that, the pain becomes frustrating. Pain becomes part of your daily routine. You begin to anticipate times of the day where you will feel pain in your heart the same way that I would anticipate making a certain movement would hurt my knee. For some, the pain surfaces before they go to sleep — perhaps a certain place triggers a negative sentiment — for some they wake up very heavy hearted.
I remember playing basketball some days after I tore my meniscus and mentally preparing myself for the pain that would ensue. It took the joy and fun out of a sport I enjoyed so much. Prolonging my pain by avoiding surgery changed how I did most things in my life. I would get in and out of a car differently, I would walk up and down the stairs differently, I would even sleep differently. The pain took so much stability from my life.
Unresolved emotions will change and take away many things from you. The longer unresolved emotions linger, the more from your life it will take away. It’s important to deal with everything you feel in the deepest way — to have an “internal surgery”. It may bring a slew of negative emotions – tears, anger, insecurity, etc. But that’s okay. That’s important and perfectly reasonable. Many people deal with their emotions by having a shoulder to lean on whether its friends, family, or someone objective. Many people prefer to deal with it on their own. Many people seek God’s assistance which is the best and most productive way of all. No matter what route or combination of routes you take, know that opening your heart to feel everything is worth it. Crying in the morning from the pain of surgery was well worth the quality of life I enjoy now with my knee.
Regardless, facing certain emotions is painful and not very easy. The aftermath of my surgery was hard but there was no question that it was the best thing to do. Taking care of yourself and anything unresolved in your heart, mind, and soul will significantly improve your life. Don’t be afraid of the tears. The sadness is important. Understanding originates from sadness. And understanding brings peace. I guess the important question you have to ask yourself is how important is your quality of life compared to how painful your figurative surgery will be.
You will win
And the pain that once controlled you will become a distant memory.