Feeling of wanting to "Move on"

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iJaide!!

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Feb 19, 2012
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I am really stuck... I know every gymnast has that phase of wanting to quit and I have had a couple...This time it just feels very real though, and I don't know where to go. I was very irritated last night and didn't know why, my mom sat me down and said we were going to write down my worries and I just started to cry..

I have been off gym for 5 weeks due to 2 bulging discs and a hairline fracture in my back, plus I kneed myself in the nose doing and double front- which caused a lot of damage and led to nose surgery, which was REALLY painful and uncomfortable (Surgery was just 4 days ago).

I switched gyms in August 2011, There are some cruel thoughts from the coaches. We aren't allowed to eat/drink unhealthy because they do not want their gymnasts to be fat and prancing around in leotards, they are recommending dropping our electives at school to train earlier, they are strictly focusing on winning... Most of the girls on our team have some sort of injury that are kinda being ignored, and the conditioning we do is CRAZY: It is sooo painful! I dont really bond with anyone on my team... Not like at my old gym at least.. I miss having friends, I feel like I don't have a social life..

I feel like gymnastics isn't me.. I feel like I would much rather have fun, and enjoy myself then be an intense athlete.. Me and my mom thought I should try track and field (I did it before gym and loved it) or swim team (which dosen't seem exciting).... I can't really think of another sport I want to do though, and I really do love gymnastics... I don't know who I am without gym, and I dont want to be anyone else..
BUT I am batteling a lot of fear also... Im not progressing that much because of fear. I read a story on Avery Downing, and how she was perfectly fine and then one fall on bars and now she is paralyzed.. It really scared me... I can NOT get it off my mind. I am scared to death now that will happen.

Also, I had competley made up my mind I was going to quit last night, and I felt GREAT about the idea... I was so excited to try new things. But today, I am sad and confused on that idea. I was at the store and I was thinking "What is the point in life?" As a gymnast, I have been structured, something to look forward too everyday, a goal I was chasing.. Without it, I cant even see the point in being alive. Its such a weird feeling...

I dont know to move on, but it might be time? I dont know if my body is giving me signs to quit, or if its ok... HELP!

Maybe its still the surgery meds that are making me all looney?
 

MaryA

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First you need a hug.
Then you need to wait till you're off your pain meds.
Then you need to talk to your mom and tell her what you just told us.
Why did you switch gyms? It sounds like this one is not exactly a warm, nurturing environment.
Probably most of us "grown ups" can relate to having your identity tied to something and then losing it. A few years ago I lost a job in my field and couldn't find another one. I felt like, "who am I if I'm not a music teacher?" just like you're feeling like "who am I if I'm not a gymnast?" It's not a comfortable feeling, but in life there will be changes in relationships and changes in jobs and lots of other changes that make us step out of our comfort zone, and even though it's not fun, it can be a good thing.

You are giving up a lot to be a gymnast. It's worth it if you love it, but not if you don't. I think you either need to find the love again (different gym, less intense program, prep op, something!) or move on. Take all the lessons you learned in gymnastics and use them to be fabulous at something else... Run track, dance, act... Whatever makes you happy!

Good luck, and let us know what you decide!
 
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GymBee97

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Sorry you are feeling this way. its tough when you are in HS to give the time needed to do the gym.

From what you have described I think taking some time off and maybe just doing some conditioning to stay in shape and let your body heal might be needed here. Its ok to take a step back and recover and come back at a point that isn't where you were hoping but where you are in a healther place.

I think your "new" gym might be part of the problem. It sounds like you love gymnastics but your new gym is not a good fit for you. If my DD's gym said eat only healthy so you don't get fat, drop electives at school to train earlier, totally focused on winning and most are injured and really being ignored I would yank her out of there so fast heads would spin. Gymnastic should have that competition but should be FUN too. I think your missing the bonds and friends from the old gym and the new gyms policies I think are questionable. How about having a talk with your mom and see if its possible to think about going back to old gym or find a new gym that isn't on the crazy winning track. Its ok to want to compete but still not be #1. Talk to your mom about you not being happy at the new gym as opposed to not being happy doing gymnastics I think you might need a different program that is a better fit with less crazy coaches.

Prep-Op / Excel type program might be the answer you need. It allows you to compete, train but not for as many hours so you have time to look at other things and have a more social life. Lots of gymnast when entering HS opt for that route. Look into it then you can still do the gymnastics but not as intense.
 
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AlexsGymmyMom

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I really don't have anything to add except this hug....:grouphug:! You really may feel differently once you are healed and not taking medication! And it does really sound like you need to high tail it out of your current gym. If you feel isolated at training and it is all work and no play than you and your family should re-evaluate this gym and try to find the right fit for you.
 
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Granny Smith

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The first thought that came to my mind reading your post was maybe you need to go to a different gym. You say you still love the sport, but it doesn't sound like you love the place you were doing it. Also if you are having some fear issues you could also persue other leagues that are less tense and let you get skills when you are ready to get them. You might be right, it might be time to move on, but I never think it should be done when you have an injury and are not 100%. If you leave the sport when you are fully healthy and of sound mind, you will never 2nd guess your decision.
 
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lhmom

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:grouphug: I wanted to send some cyberhugs as well. You've gotten some good advice here and I agree that maybe a rest then a gym change might be in order. That way, you'd have a clearer perspective on whether you want to continue or not. The gym you are in sounds very intense and possibly not the best fit for you. Good luck to you!
 
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my4buffaloes

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Apr 14, 2010
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Aw, I'm sorry you are feeling this way. I don't know if quiting is the right thing (only you will know that) but it doesn't sound like this gym is the best fit for you. Does your mom know about all the negative things that go on there? Why did you leave your old gym? Can you go back if that was a good place where you had friends, trusted the coaches, had fun and were happy? I would recommend thinking along those lines before giving up completely. Maybe it is time to not go full force, be super competitive with only winning on your mind. Maybe now is the time to relax, have fun and just enjoy gymnastics for the fun of it all. I don't think you need to rush into anything, it sounds like you are taking some time off anyway. You have a lot to think about, good luck and I hope your nose heals quickly.
 
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jsfofec

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I'm really sorry to hear all that you are going through physically and emotionally. Sounds like there are some red flags at your current gym, which could make anybody want to leave the sport.

Making a decision to quit is a very tough one. I'm sure you've put in many years into this sport and to not see it through to the end, could be something you may regret later. DD's coach has seen this many times, especially during the teenage years where a gymnast will decide to quit and later they come to regret their decision. Before making that decision, try looking at other alternatives, like another gym if possible. As mentioned earlier, xcel is an option if you want something less time consuming and less demanding.

In regards to the fear as a result of the Avery Downing story, that's a tough one to deal with. The girls at our gym also know about Avery and have supported her all season. If you had a coach you could sit down with and talk about your fears may help a lot, but it sounds like what you described at your gym, they may not be too sympathetic to your fears. Try to find somebody you can go to about this, talking about it and getting it out may really help.

If you do decide to leave the sport, I'm sure you'll be successful in whichever sport you choose. Gymnasts are known for doing very good in other sports. I know you mentioned track and lot's of gymnasts end up in track. There are so many events you may do good in just because you are so strong, like Pole Vault for example, which takes upper body strength, agility, air awareness, which are all things gymnasts have. Another sport to consider would be diving or crew. Those sports also take advantage of all the things you've learned in gymnastics.
 
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dunno

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At the very least, I would get out of the gym you are in...their behavior and attitudes are pathological...

as a father, i'm crying. as a coach, i'm seething. show your mother what you typed. you were given life before gymnastics, and there will be life after in the event you don't continue. gymnastics, as well as other sports, are a small part of life. they are not life. getting injured, and long term recovery, can cause temporary depression. it's normal for athletes to go thru this. and sometimes the pain meds contribute to that end depending on what you're taking. speak to your mother and father.

things happen in life. and bad things happen to good people. and bad things happen to good people that are in gymnastics also. this is because gymnastics is a PART of life. what happened to Avery was very unfortunate. but what happened is a statistical anomaly. the chance that one could get food poisoning, or hurt in a car accident or hurt falling down the stairs is greater than the chance that one would suffer an injury such as Avery's. and all those common events can cause injury and death.

finally, maybe your 'thoughts' are reflections. and they're telling you to leave where you are. not necessarily to leave gymnastics altogether. come up with another plan and another gym. gymnasts are great at planning. it will give you something to do while your body is still healing. and when you're cleared by the Docs, get back at it with a new gym, new healthy coaches and new friends. you know that gymnasts embrace one another no matter who they are or where they come from. this is partly due to having gone thru similar issues themselves before they found the right 'home'.

now go to your mom and dad and show them what you typed and start coming up with a plan.:)
 
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gymcoach34

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Apr 5, 2010
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as a father, i'm crying. as a coach, i'm seething. show your mother what you typed. you were given life before gymnastics, and there will be life after in the event you don't continue. gymnastics, as well as other sports, are a small part of life. they are not life. getting injured, and long term recovery, can cause temporary depression. it's normal for athletes to go thru this. and sometimes the pain meds contribute to that end depending on what you're taking. speak to your mother and father.

things happen in life. and bad things happen to good people. and bad things happen to good people that are in gymnastics also. this is because gymnastics is a PART of life. what happened to Avery was very unfortunate. but what happened is a statistical anomaly. the chance that one could get food poisoning, or hurt in a car accident or hurt falling down the stairs is greater than the chance that one would suffer an injury such as Avery's. and all those common events can cause injury and death.

finally, maybe your 'thoughts' are reflections. and they're telling you to leave where you are. not necessarily to leave gymnastics altogether. come up with another plan and another gym. gymnasts are great at planning. it will give you something to do while your body is still healing. and when you're cleared by the Docs, get back at it with a new gym, new healthy coaches and new friends. you know that gymnasts embrace one another no matter who they are or where they come from. this is partly due to having gone thru similar issues themselves before they found the right 'home'.

now go to your mom and dad and show them what you typed and start coming up with a plan.:)

Dunno, that was beautiful!
 
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gymmomntc2e6

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Aug 25, 2007
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can't give any better advice than Dunno. but big hugs as it is hard to stop doing something that seems to 'be what you are'. yes, you are a gymnast but I am sure you are also much, much more.

my DD just 'retired' from gymnastics after 6 years. Mainly tired of the hours. wantrd more timenwith her family & friends & wanted to try other things. Also, a lot of negative coaching started happening. She grew tired of the consrant criticism & snarky remarks. I know this isn't the same as she is younger & not injured. But she has always thought of herself as a gymnast because it is all that she has done. She quit 3 or 4 weeks ago. She had her first dance classes this past week. she loved them and now says she is a dancer. happy as a clam.

Make a list of things you might like to try. i suggest you let your nose & back heal. you don't want chronic back pain. take some timenoff gym to try other things. if nothing floats your boat then go back to gymnastics. but at a different gym. that one sounds toxic.
 
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UnoMas

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Aug 16, 2008
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A switch to a good gym where you are having fun can make all the difference. I was sure my daughter was going to be done with gym a couple years ago, but a gym switch brought back her love and excitement for the sport. She deals with some nagging injuries too, nothing severe like yours, so yes, definitely let those surgery meds wear off and please talk to your parents about how you are feeling. Hugs to you.
 
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iwannacoach

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I can't add anymore to the posts you've received wishing you all the best in your efforts to sort through this tough time in your life. The only thing I can offer you is to ask you to go back into those "sad" feelings, as they seem to be keeping you from making a decision. When you said you were relieved or happy in the evening, and then sad the next morning, it seemed to me you may feel the best thing to do is to move on, and the sad feelings may be coming from a sense of "lost opportunities" collected from your past gymnastics experiences, and at this point in time you are struggling with never being able to reconcile those losses.

I'm very impressed with your feelings of commitment and your desire to "get it right" before doing anything drastic. Take your time, let the meds wear off, talk with your parents, and then spend some time alone reliving the past. As you do so, there will be mental images that make you collapse into a pile of tears, those thoughts that lead to such breakdowns are your real issues. Understanding your emotions and deciding what to do about them will lead you to your answer.

Good luck, and know there's a whole lot in life that's good, it's just waiting for you to find it.
 
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Mom2Gymgirls

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I don't have anything to add to the many replies you've already received containing lots of good advice. However, I did want to send some hugs your way to help get you through the tough times.
 
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JessLW

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I remember being in your position when I was about 15 and how torn I was over quitting gymnastics. Like MaryA said, most of us, no matter whether we were gymnasts or not can relate to the feeling of having our whole identity tied to some aspect of our lives -- a job, a sport, parenthood, being in school, anything. That feeling of "what am I if I'm not X?" can be frightening!

I'd definitely echo the other's sentiments to wait until you've recovered and are in a good frame of mind, and then you can think about gymnastics rationally and clearly and decide whether or not you're through. I think most of us former gymnasts (those of us who weren't forced out of the sport by injury) knew in our hearts when we were done, when we'd reached the limits of what we were going to get out of the sport, when we were ready to move on to other things. I LOVED gymnastics and admitting to myself that I was finished was really hard, but it was time.

If you're not happy at your current gym too, definitely look into making a switch. It could be that a change of environment would make all the difference.

Good luck! I know things probably seem pretty bleak right now, but you'll certainly get through it and come out on top. :)
 
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kimskids

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Apr 16, 2011
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I am so sorry you are feeling like this. I am sure it is a tough decision to make and that even if you feel it is the right decision it is still going to be hard. A huge part of your life has been gymnastics and you are probably so used to being on the go that having so much down time is difficult. My daughter is only 10 and on her days off just seems to want to go, go, go!!! If you decide you really want to quit you will eventually find a new "normal". If you decide to stay I really hope you find a gym where you are valued as a person and treated nicely. I will be thinking of you and hope you come to the decision that is best for you!! :)
 
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J&A's mom

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Everyone's posts collectively said what I was going to say. Take some time to heal, at the same time, I think you should be shopping for a new gym. And if you do it now, you will get a good idea about what it would be like. If you are upfront about your injuries and how you need sometime before you start there, see the reaction and their plan. You will know if they will work with you as a person, or if you are just another gymnast there.
 
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