Bouncing Back: Caring for Emotional Health When Physical Ability Changes

“Sometimes the emotional healing takes longer than the physical healing.”

The Hope Coalition supports Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention in Boulder County. They are hosting their annual Gatekeepers event on Saturday April 2nd looking at what happens emotionally and psychologically when we lose physical ability. Paula Nelson with the Hope Coalition says it’s a common issue in Boulder County where people tend to be more physically active “we’re really active and we also identify with our activity so much that it’s hard for us to separate that.  So if you’re a person who likes to run or mountain bike but yet you identify and say “I’m a runner” or “I’m a mountain biker” rather than “I run” or “I bike” and that’s what your identity has gotten all wrapped up in, that’s when it becomes really hard for people then, if they experience something that keeps them from doing that activity because that has been their world. So it’s about looking at that balance in your life, that there are other things in your life.”

Adrienne Bulinski, former Miss Kansas and a motivational speaker will be giving the key note address on Saturday. Bulinski was a professional dancer who experienced a major ankle injury that stopped her career and her dreams.  She says that initially doctors and caregivers paid attention to her emotional state, but that focus shifted as she began to physically recover.  “At the time of my injury through the 6 month period when I wasn’t walking, I was in and out of surgery, I was in and out of surgery every day of the week, people were constantly asking me “do we need to address some emotional depression, some issues going on?” and I didn’t think I had anything wrong and I didn’t need any help at that time.  The struggle came when I hit about 6 or 8 months and I started physically healing and everybody went back to their own lives and my doctor saw that I was healing and that everything was OK and they were pulling away, that’s when the emotional scarring began to set in and I realized what was going on and by that point in time people think that you are fine, they think you should be moving on, they think that your attitude should reflect your physical well-being and the reality is I hadn’t dealt myself with the emotional scarring.”

Bullinski said she found relief through medication and counseling and finding new activities like mountain biking “there was a long process in that, it does not happen over night and that’s one thing that can be very emotionally trying as well.  Everyone thinks that she’s physically fine, she should be moving forward but sometimes the emotional healing takes longer than the physical healing.”


Bouncing Back: Caring for Emotional Health When Physical Ability Changes happens Saturday April 2nd from 8.30am12.30pm at the Boulder Valley Christian Church, 7100 South Boulder Road.  Adrienne Bulinski gives the key note address and other speakers include: Travis Maron a BVSD coach, Sherry Ballantine, DO, Robin Saltonstall, PhD.

The event is free and open to the public, registration is required. Register at For questions, email or call 303 880 6030.