The dumbest thing I have done so far has been to move when I shouldn't have, which resulted in a slight kick to the head, more a graze than a whack. It was early on and I learned quickly. Yesterday, I also learned that physiotherapy and karate belong on separate calendar days.
Physiotherapy takes three to four hours twice a week. I work very carefully and deliberately, taking inventory at every move of my body alignment, balance, and pain level. The effort is exhausting and I have to rest often. But because I take my time I am getting good results. Some days are better than others. Yesterday was not my best day, though it was far from my worst. I did fine until the end, and then the pain exploded.
My physiotherapist talked me through the tears, breathing through the pain.
"What you're feeling is pain, okay, and your pain is real. I can't feel your pain, but I know it's there. What can you do about it? Breathe. That's the one thing you can do, so the only thing I want you to do right now is focus on breathing." With every breath came more and more tears. When the pain gets that bad I reach a breaking point, where the emotion of pain renders me vulnerable to a bona fide breakdown. Exhausted from working so hard, that's where I was headed. "What are you thinking about right now?" he asked. The only acceptable answer was "breathing," but I don't believe that lying is useful and he did not get that answer. He stayed and talked me through the pain. In a soothing voice he helped me focus on the diaphragm, thinking about the shape, form and function, physiology, how it feels to breathe, how it's nice to be able to breathe; and so on.
It will take a lot of work to retrain my brain pain. But I've got a good coach and I'm up for it.