The Knee Thing

I used to exaggerate a lot. If you know me personally, you may be sitting, shaking your head going “yup”.

I’ve never meant to do it though and upon reflection, it may’ve been down to lack of attention. Not because I’m an attention whore, but because I never felt people quite got what I was saying. Something could feel really bad for me, but to someone else it wouldn’t be that bad, so if I’d made it sound worse, they might sort of end up on my wavelength.

Not 100% sure if that makes sense, but I’m rolling with it. I don’t have any definite proof of this, it’s just a theory. It was probably a subconscious thing I did without realising, and if not? Well then I have no idea.

I’ve gotten better at my words though over the past year and a half, maybe 2 years. I’m fairly relaxed now, I don’t need attention. I speak whatever is in my mind, however it is in my mind; if nobody understands? That’s okay, because I understand.

Something that bothers me though is I used to go on about my knees a lot. Now let me make it clear, I do have a slight problem with my knees, I’ll explain that later on.

It was probably around 2012-2013 on Facebook that I really started laying it on thick. I wore knee supports in public, put pictures on my timeline of the supports, talking about how hard it was to walk. In hindsight, I was being silly. Compared to now, it was nothing. Although to say it was nothing I guess wouldn’t be fair to younger me, as I genuinely felt it then.

See that was the worst pain I had felt up until that point. I was mentally and physically weak, little to no body strength. I also had regular growing pains, so sudden pains in my legs making me sore, was scary.

I was incredibly anxious and knowing arthritis runs in the family, I pretty much went insane. I would complain about my legs all day, every day, for I guess the next 5 years. I’m not proud of it…

Each time it got worse, I panicked more. I was scared of having the inability to walk when I was older. As someone who very much enjoys walking and used to play a tonne of sports, it was heartbreaking.

Now fast forward to when I went to the doctor’s last year. Doctor referred me to Physiotherapy, and so the journey to recovery began. As it turns out, my knees are very weak and the pain I’ve felt was real. It seems the anxiety I felt almost amplified a pain that wasn’t really that bad, something people don’t realise can happen. The brain is very powerful, it’s not to be taken lightly.

Basically, the quadriceps on each leg are a bit weak and shouldn’t be like that for my age. I could barely do the test stretches she asked me to perform. Likely from the wear and tear of vigorous sports as a child, this would explain the pains I felt around 14, once I really started to grow up and out. Because my quads were weak, it cause parts of my knee to shift into awkward angles that cause a great deal of discomfort when I walk.

With exercise, I can fix them. It’s not difficult really, it’s more finding time to exercise out of work. Luckily I’ve found myself engrossed in Pokémon Go again, so I’m doing a LOT of walking.

Do they still hurt? Yeah they do, but I know my limits now and every day I’m improving. This year I’ve been able to run a little, play some football, jump up and down, skip rope, and walk roughly 10km a day to work and back. I’m making progress and I’m proud of myself for that.

That’s pretty much my story. If you took away anything from that, I’d be grateful if you took away the following;

  • I’m sorry to those who I annoyed over the years, although as you’ve seen, my pain was real.
  • Growing pains are not a joke. Bodies changing and reforming can be a painful experience, especially for a teenager with a weak body and low pain threshold. Parents please comfort your kids, don’t laugh at them or turn them away.
  • Mental health is no joke either, my anxiety definitely made things seem worse than they were. Yes I was technically being irrational, but thanks to my brain warping the reality, that became my norm.
  • With hard work, you can achieve anything. I’m proud of myself for becoming more myself mentally, and physically becoming comfortable. That’s because I put my mind to it and believed I could do it.

By no means am I done trying to “fix” my legs, but I’m making progress and I’m happy.

Post by Michael Sallabank