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Thread: phobia after breaking bones - how to get over it???

  1. #1
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    phobia after breaking bones - how to get over it???

    Hello, I am looking for suggestions on how to get rid of this nightmarish phobia.

    I skated when I was younger, had to give it up for health reasons for about 17 years (I'm 47 now), went back and was back to doing freestyle within a month with a brand new pair of skates.

    Three months into it, one day I was just standing still talking to something when I felt my foot turn, and my leg twisted and collapsed under me, all my weight onto it. Just for standing still doing absolutely nothing, I ended up with spiral fractures in both my tibia and fibula! I ended up with a metal plate in my leg for the tibia fracture to hold the bones together.

    THen came physical therapy, while the plate was still in my leg, which was plain stupid timing. The plate was removed after one year, then I had to wait another year to try skating again, because there were holes in the bone that needed to heal fully.

    I finally got back to skating, but was having flashbacks of the bone-breaking incident, and on some days ended up in tears. I finally felt like I was "over it", did a second round of physical therapy because I couldn't use my ankle properly or bend it in teh right way to do even things like back crossovers.

    2 or 3 months later I was back to working on jumps and spins, was overjoyed. Well, one day I was out on the middle of the ice and suddenly "froze up" absolutely terrified, too afraid to even move! I manages to get to the side and clung to the wall for dear life to get to the exit - I left the rink totally freaked out.

    Still, I spent a year trying to not be afraid. Many days I left in tears and feelings of total frustration and hopelessness. Still, I kept going on like that the entire year. I tried everything to overcome the fear, and nothing helped. So I gave up. I didn't want to, but felt totally helpless by that time.

    That was like 3 years ago. All this time I have had skating in my head constantly, dreaming about it, wishing I could get over this phobia, and feeling like it's a lost cause. Skates have been in the closet crying for me to use them. I am SO afraid it's unbelievable. So many times I have looked at the rink schedules trying to psych myself up to going back.

    Last night I finally took the skates out of the closet, put them on my feet to see if they even still fit. I looked up rink schedules again. As any skater at heart knows, being on the ice is like flying with no gravity, like the most free feeling of entire being that a person could ever have while still living. I just don't know how I can ever get over this horrible phobia enough to force myself to give myself another try on the ice. I can look at skates and schedules all I want, but if I don;t get over the phobia it's all pointless.

    So who can tell me how I can get over this freakish nightmare of a phobia?

  2. #2
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    Hi Treesprite, Honestly, it sounds like you've done all you can do on your own. I think you might do well to talk to a sports psychologist to help work through your fear. I wish you all the best!!

  3. #3
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    Wow. All I can say is that your injury sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of freak circumstance that could not possibly happen again, even if you tried. You weren't doing *anything* when you hurt yourself, and when you were actually jumping and spinning, you did *not* fall and hurt yourself. So it was clearly not your skating ability that was the cause of that injury. I'd say it's better to skate assertively and have normal falls with normal bumps and bruises than to stiffen up from fear and have weird falls that you can't roll with, KWIM? OK, maybe all of that was obvious. So how about hypnotherapy? There are actually downloadable MP3 recordings online that you can listen to from your computer or iPod, and they don't cost much. Worth a try!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the supportive replies

    I talked to a therapist about it, used self-hypnosis stuff when at the rink. I tried skating in brief amounts of time getting off the ice as soon as I felt myself start to feel anxious so that I wouldn't associate anxiety with skating, then after a couple minutes going back on and try again... off and on off and on like that - this worked better than anything else, but not better enough so I quit trying and never went back.

    I'm trying to get up the nerve to go. I can't skate in my skates until they re-form to my feet at least a tiny bit because they are now too snug, but I can't find the oil to soften the leather. Is there a leather oil that I could get in a regular shoe store that would work? I can't see going in a rink just for the purpose of buying oil.

    I am wondering if going to a different rink would help. There's a rink even closer to me now, which opened after the last time I skated. I wouldn't get to see the rink folks though. When I was in the hospital (was there several days), one of them came with a card signed by a whole bunch of the other "adult public session skaters", and when I finally went back to skating got a really big welcome form everyone.... people who barely knew me knew the whole miserable story). Such sweet people at the rink I used to go to - I do miss them. A couple of them actually used to skate at the rink where I skated as a kid, which was actually in the mall that is across from where I now live... unfortunately the rink closed like a couple decades ago or else I could just run across the street.

    This was the one thing I can clearly remember besides pain when I broke my leg. The skates I had were only 1 month old, and the paramedics were going to cut the skate off of my foot because they didn't know what the heck else to do - one of the other skaters, who I knew for many years, came to the rescue and talked them into letting her remove it, which she did very carefully. I got the skates back with her blue terry blade covers on them, and because they did actually cut the laces, she sent along a brand new pair of laces.

    Shoot, men's long is starting on the tube and I have to go pick someone up from work.... guess I'll have to watch the late re-run.

  5. #5
    Rinkside
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    Just a thought, Treesprite - maybe get lots of padding - I've seen stores that have all kinds of things, like pants (with padding) etc and they are skin toned so you don't look like you're wearing anything freaky - so even if you 'think you're going to fall' you'll KNOW it won't hurt you - after skating like that for a while, maybe you'll feel less scared? I know when I spun out and mashed my head into the ice it took me weeks of my coach yapping at me before I went back - and I bought a head band just in case it happened again (an Ice Halo - guess that makes me an 'Ice Angel now...) so now I KNOW if I do another headplant, at least it won't end up with a blasted concussion again, so it doesn't scare me anymore! And truth be told.. I still wear elbow pads :-(
    Hope you get back to skating soon! The Ice Misses You!!

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the suggestion. Padding only helps for simple falls, though. I have knee pads because I damaged the bursa under my kneecaps from falling on them, but they don't make me feel the least bit less at risk of hurting myself. I'm not worried about falling trying to jump around or anything like that, I'm afraid of breaking bones... my foot could twist under me again, I could fall on it again and break it again.

    I managed to find my Lexol finally.

  7. #7
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    You are smart to break in your boots a little more before skating again. You don't want stiff boots to inhibit your ankle and knee bend, which is so important when you want to feel secure in your balance. I am also thinking you might put off sharpening your blades until you feel comfortable on the ice again. With slightly dull blades, it is less likely that the blade will catch and you will keep going (which is the more dangerous kind of fall, as we know). Do you have any videos of yourself skating in the past? If so, watching them over and over may help you regain that feeling of security on the ice.

  8. #8
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    I'm definately not getting the skates sharpened before feeling sure of myself! They are on the dull side, but good enough.

    Back when I "really" skated, there wasn't much of recording. Most people didn't have video cameras, and there was no such thing as a digital camera. The only tape was when I did an episode of the show Kidz Vid that involved me showing the super hero "Crab Man" the first basic info of skating (like stepping on the ice and falling) - I didn't do any real skating in that show (what an intersting experience that was.... it was probably the coldest day of the year on an outdoor rink in D.C. while it was snowing, and Crab Man ended up in the ER with hypothermia because he was wearing nothing but super hero tights and a cape!)
    Last edited by treesprite; 02-22-2010 at 09:57 PM.

  9. #9
    I broke my tibia in 2006 skating. Freak trip on a RBO3, my bad direction. I wrote up the whole exp in my journal w a condensed version in the FAQ. You might want to read it. I still have fear of RBO3s. But I got back on the ice ASAP, almost as soon as I could walk again. i wish you luck in your journey. It is not easy. Working through the fear w a psychologist is probably a good idea.

    Kay
    www.skatejournal.com

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