Every so often, I will take a break from making reviews or sharing information about mental health to get personal with everyone. I am not impervious to stress or hardships. We all suffer. I feel that providing a brief insight into my own troubles or thoughts will show that I too have to fight my personal battles every day. We all need support, regardless of who you are. Patient or Medical Provider. Everyone goes through rough patches in their lives. It’s unavoidable. Life can be at its peak of pure enjoyment then suddenly, within a blink of an eye, dealt a crappy set of circumstances that you nor your family have any control over.
Bear with me as I disclose a personal account of both the physical but more mental hardships I have been dealing with. Health problems seem to be my Achilles heel, as I had to contend with them in the last three years. Like many service members, I took pride in my physical fitness and joy of pushing my body to the limits. It was my rush, my “thing, ” my drive. Sometimes we service members can overdo it, and more often than not, push ourselves over the limit. We recover, we don’t complain, and we move on. Yes, injuries happen and we learn to work around them. I was by no means a P.T. stud, but exercise was my stress outlet. No, this is not me trying to be a badass and injuring myself, but more my body up and said “you had a good run but it’s time to call it quits”.
2019, a year of unforeseeable change. My family and I would face our greatest challenge to date with my overall health taking a downward plunge. A simple 1.5 run almost killed me. I competed in marathons and long distance runs throughout my whole Naval career with no concerns. However, this run is when I notice some problems occurring. Chest pain, shortness of breath, and running so slowly that I had people giving me weird looks as to why I was trailing so far behind. My stubbornness got the better of me and I continued on, knowing that I’ll be damned if I didn’t finish this simple run. Well, my body didn’t like that and after passing the finishing line, I complained of chest pain and then passed out. Shocked everyone around me, here goes “Doc” down for the count. No sooner than I hit the ground, this sorry SOB got tossed in a safety vehicle which immediately whisked me away to the hospital while being on the receiving end of some good slaps (I was told this later…lol) by a fellow Corpsman to keep me awake. I even at one point tried to tell the driver to take me back to work and I will just monitor my BP in my office. HA! Thank god the driver ignored me.
Long story short, I found out a malformation of my artery in my heart nearly killed me. It took over a year to find out about this condition after a barrage of medical tests. Myocardial bridging was my diagnosis. Simply, a portion of my artery that supplies blood to my heart was running under heart muscle tissue instead of over the heart like everyone else. So damn artery was being squeezed and if my heart muscle didn’t let up that faithful day, well I would be pushing up daisies right now. I ended up going under the knife to correct this condition at Stanford University because of failing other conservative treatments. Nothing like getting your chest cracked wide open, but I kept a playful, sarcastic tone for the surgery staff before they tired of me and gassed me out.
Worst part is that this was during COVID craze and my family had to stay at a local hotel as I went through the entire ordeal with surgery and recovery. Thank god for video conferencing. At any rate, follow on care/therapy was tough because of the not only the new limitations I had contended with but all the other medical issues I typically would try to manage in silence. Chronic pain syndrome, PTSD, hip and back issues, and so on. Since my body was in the “screw you mode”, 2021 found me back in the hospital again with a rare inner ear infection, Labyrinthitis, also known as vestibular neuritis, which is the inflammation of the inner ear. Cause is unknown since it struck without warning one Saturday morning. Wow, nothing like becoming deaf in one ear, with severe ringing, and top it off with bouts of vertigo.
So I am batting a 10 out of 10 here with medical issues, aren’t I? So what does this all mean for my Naval career? Medical retirement before I can get to 20 years! Damn, two years shy. So with easing back on the silliness I’ve been paving along here with my story, lets get real. My mental health has truly suffered. I have been struggling hard but I am never giving up. The support I get from my family and friends is my solace in remaining strong and to continue the fight. But I have my days where I just want to say ” F@*K IT!!”. My path out of the darkness is simple. Continuing to provide care to service members, chiefly fellow VETERANS! My passion for rendering care while serving always brought me prosperity and accomplishment. So why not continue on, hence creation of this website and the future goals of becoming a certified clinical mental health counselor with rendering care via Teletherapy.
So in conclusion, we all have internal battles to fight, but remaining strong and hopeful for a better day is key. No matter how depressing life can get, remember, you have been given an opportunity to live. Don’t waste it away. I unfortunately have seen what the darkness can do to those who have given up hope. From finding a friend who had hung himself to trying to talk down another friend who ultimately slit his throat, the battle is real. No one has to fight thier battles alone. Never should anyone feel that there are no other options but to end it. Please take the time to check on friends, family, and brothers/sisters of arms. You never know what internal battles they have and might just need a compassionate listener to open up too. You can make a difference. Listen, not fix. Love, not condemn. If you or anyone else needs help, please reach out and ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness, but strength to admit that help is needed.
Take care and thank you for taking the time to read this rant.