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Hi all,

I'm having kind of a panicky day today. I hurt my knee about 2 1/2 weeks ago by falling up some concrete steps--on the first day of vacation, which was excellent timing :rolleyes:  Anyway, I was in Ireland at the time and saw a physio and, although he didn't do any x-rays, he was pretty sure about what the problem was and gave me a tentative diagnosis (he's a friend so we weren't at his office) and told me to treat it gently but normally. I did that, but it's still hurting.. I know knees take time to heal, but I'm really paranoid and want to get back to exercising like I normally do, so I made an appointment with a Dr here in the USA now that I'm back. I'm going tomorrow and I'm terrified. I'm so worried they're going to say something is seriously wrong and I need surgery, and the prospect of this is making me freak out. I've been through a tough time this year and also recently learned my cat has probably 2 weeks max to live.. it feels like things are piling up and I'm so scared of this. How can I calm down? I keep telling myself a knee injury isn't the end of the world, and even Olympic athletes and marathon runners come back from them, but I'm terrified of how my body will handle any kind of treatment. This of course makes me feel more panicky and it just becomes a vicious circle of nerves, fear, and panic! I have anxiety and panic attack issues anyway, which I know the POTS feeds. 

Argh! Just need to vent a bit and put these thoughts out there. I don't really have friends I can talk to about this. Thanks for listening.

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So sorry for you.  Injury, sick cat, stress.  It's a lot to deal with sometimes.  

Sounds like you are having a disagreement between your rational side and your emotional side.  Perhaps scheduling 10 minutes to worry freely, and then all the rest of the day you think about other things instead?  I have heard that suggested as a way to handle anxieties.  Normally we worry in little spurts throughout the day, but this method requires that all your worrying for the day is to be saved for your worry appointment.  Maybe also let your imagination go wild, imagining the worst possible scenario?

As for why your knee still hurts, I strained my lateral collateral ligament once (while getting out of the car!).  I took it very easy, and after a week the knee felt completely better.  Then I tried pedaling a stationary bike with the lowest possible resistance, and immediately the pain came back again as if it had never healed at all.  I had to wear a knee brace for a while before it would heal completely.  Maybe you have been accidentally re-injuring it in the past 2 weeks?  I bet you just need support while it heals.  What diagnosis did they give you?

My anxiety remedies:  deep breathing (5 seconds in, 5 seconds out) for at least 10 minutes to activate the parasympathetic nervous system; pray; find something to do that I can lose myself in (movie, good book, whatever); write down what I'm worried about instead of running it through my head repeatedly; exercise; sped time outside in nature.

 

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Hi jknh9, like Lily said, it sounds like your anxiety is taking your fear of the unknown and running with it. Nothing you can think inside your head has anything to do with reality, recognize that having anxiety is in itself fine, we all have it, especially when it comes to health concerns. It sounds like the amount of time and headspace your anxiety/ fear is taking up is not unintentionall, like most our emotions, it might be worth asking yourself how much of your time do you feel you need to worry about this until you will be okay? If it is two hours then mark it down in your calendar and sit and worry for those two hours, you'll probably get bored and stop after a few minutes, but at least you will be intentional about it. Often for me anxiety is more troubling when I let it sit in my life for days completely unintentionally, without asking myself exactly how long do I want to do this before I let it go?

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Thank you Lily! I really appreciate the advice. I think you're right, my rational and emotional sides are at war right now. Part of the problem is that my job is boring and I often go on auto-pilot, and then I find my mind wandering to other things. Maybe if I find a good audio book to listen to while I work, that might help. I'm also worried that if my knee continues to hurt and I can't exercise normally, my body will become deconditioned and my POTS symptoms will get worse--yep, there goes my anxiety running away with me again. It doesn't help that I'm forced to live with my parents right now. They were watching my cat while I was overseas, and since she had the episode the day I got back, it's impossible to move her because my place is 2 hours away and the car ride would put undue stress on her. I like my mom but my dad is... not a nice person and takes everything out on me and my mom (by the way, I'm 31, not just-out-of-the-house). I can feel my mental health declining while I'm here, but there's nothing I can do since I want to protect my cat and let her live as long as possible :( Perhaps I should take more nature breaks or avoid being here in the evenings when my dad is here. I think I'm grieving for the "normal" life I had just 3 weeks ago. I want my routine and my running and my place and my "healthy" cat back. Sorry, I know this is sounding like a pity party here. Usually my go-to anxiety remedy IS exercise, but it's extremely difficult right now. I'll try writing things down in a journal, maybe it will help to just put it on paper. By the way, yes, I think I probably have been re-injuring it ^^; I've been exercising every day still and I know some days I overdid it--jumping jacks, 2-3 mile walks, etc. And a couple of days ago I was lifting heavy bags of rocks, which I don't think the knee appreciated. The physio said I had damaged the fat pads under the kneecap and they were probably inflamed and it would take 1-3 weeks to heal. I'm wondering if I also have a bone bruise going on in there, or, *gulp* a fracture, even though I can bear weight on it, bend it, straighten it, lift it, etc. It's just still a bit painful and continues to swell slightly on top.

Thanks statesof, that's a good idea. Today I'll try monitoring how long I'm letting myself think about this stuff and try to focus on other stuff. Unfortunately there's nothing I can do about any of it right this minute, and logically I know that's reason enough to let it go for now. Tomorrow the doctor will give me more information. I'm trying to tell myself that I can worry after I find out what the issue is. I'm also dealing with guilt from not going to the doctor before this, but my mom and boyfriend just kept telling me it was fine and to take it easy, and I was trying to trust what the physio told me. And who knows, he may have been spot on and I've just been pushing it too much in the meantime. 

I took a meditation course in college, and I think I'm going to try to tap into those techniques today while I have a little quiet. I work online and my parents are out now, so I have a quiet house for now, thank goodness. Maybe some gentle, knee-friendly yoga, too.

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