Friday, Sept. 8, 2023
“Ken, I’ve had it. I’m not taking you in for surgery today. I’m dropping you off at a psych ward instead.”
I stared at my wife from the passenger seat. Was she kidding? Looking at her face, I could see she was dead serious.
It was early morning on the way to the hospital. Yetta was driving me into the city for day surgery. Years before, I had twisted my knee while playing soccer. It only took a second. I jumped in the air to get at the ball, and on landing, my right knee buckled underneath me. The way my leg hit the ground, I felt my ACL tear.
Ironically, I had been playing soccer to get into shape and feel better. So, that backfired pretty good.
After several years of on-and-off physiotherapy, crutches, and a custom brace, my knee was still a mess. I was able to walk fine after quite a lot of physio. Often, even wearing my custom brace, my knee would pop back out. That meant returning to crutches, even more frequent physio appointments, and slowing right back down.
I was deeply discouraged.
Nine months before this particular trip to the hospital, my father passed away. His death hit me in an excruciating way, likely primarily because I viewed it as preventable. My dad knew something was wrong and avoided getting help for almost a decade. What also made it worse was that he was not ready to go. He was furious about dying, and we all felt this until the end. It was hard to make peace with what happened. My mom had already peacefully passed when I was in my late 20’s. Even though I was now in my 40s, I still felt orphaned.
This and the trouble with my knee bothered me a lot more than I realized at a conscious level. I was gaining weight from the inactivity; I ate my way through my lethargy with bags of chips and filtered my problems with Coca-Cola. It wasn’t exactly effective therapy.
I was depressed and didn’t know it.
Oh, but Yetta sure did! She was fed up with my emotional shutdown and irrational outbursts and wanted to wake me up. She meant it when she said that the psych hospital was where she thought it best to take me to. She wasn’t just trying to get a reaction or make me change; she was serious. If you have met Yetta, you know she doesn’t make empty or idle threats!
Thankfully, she did drive me to the right hospital, and I did get my ACL replaced. After six weeks of hard work, my leg finally worked well again. I had significant time during my recovery to pray, ponder, and consider all she said. I could see I was in over my head. I researched and considered all the options available to get the help I needed.
Even though initially I was in denial and disbelief, I did trust Yetta was aware of the dysfunction I was stuck in. She knew how far I’d fallen and wouldn’t let me decline further. I decided things needed to change, but I was at a loss as I was normally a positive and proactive person.
I have always been independent. Desperate, I took the risk and had breakfast with a friend. He had often held me accountable and knew at least some of the hard stuff I was dealing with. I told him I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and had to get my body into shape because my mind and life depended on it. I asked him to ask me, whenever he wanted if I was taking consistent action to get active and fit again.
Now, I had to keep my word.
Over the next month, I hired a trainer, joined a gym, and started to watch what I was eating. In about three months, I took my weight from 195 pounds down to 180. I began feeling better, having more energy, and thinking clearer, and my blood pressure was lower. It was amazing how, after only a few short months of looking after my body, my brain responded, and my mind returned to its normal healthy state. Yetta was delighted that the old Ken was back.
I had no idea how much my depression was connected to my physical health and my activity level. I also put time aside to pray and sit in silence, which allowed the gentle grieving period that I desperately needed. Over time, the pain from the loss of my dad diminished, and so did the depression.
Discovering your reason for remaining healthy is a great strategy to help you make LIFEsteps towards your healthy body and take fewer DEATHsteps. We are going to age regardless. We just decided to delay that process for as long as possible. Our trainer Cheryl says, “Muscles do not age; we just lose tone and flexibility through lack of use.” We are now in our sixtieth year, and I believe we are in better shape than in our forties. We have decided that we are “saging” rather than aging.
If you are interested in learning more about our mind-body connection and how we can make decisions to move us toward a 5 STAR life, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love for you to join our Community, where you’ll have early access to our pre-order our newest book, LIFEX: Simple Steps to Achieve Exponential Living. We’d love to continue the discussion and move forward together because together, we’ve got this!