Ending a Five Year Odyssey
The doctor’s solution to my desperation was as usual, have more patience. That summer my mental health had regressed. Out of the blue, I started having panic attacks. My heart would race and the air in the room felt so dense as if I had to swallow it to breath. My hands would suffer from extreme eczema breakouts. They would suddenly get covered with painful red blisters, to the point where I couldn’t even use my crutches. So there I was, me and my useless, deformed limb that didn’t even look like a leg to me anymore. Not able to even use my crutches to go to the bathroom and struggling to breathe.
Until one day, I said to myself I had enough….
I decided to chop off what was left of that useless part of a leg I was dragging around for the last 4 years and I would go on with my life. I told my doctors I wanted to amputate (feeling like a fool that I hadn’t done this earlier). Even though none of my doctors had recommended it until now, I knew that it was the only true solution. The doctors respected my opinion and finally told me it was a better choice if I wanted to have an athletic lifestyle again. After making this huge decision that day and after receiving my doctor’s approval, I felt liberated. It was as if a huge weight I had been carrying with me all those years since my accident, was lifted. After a lot of time I felt a sprinkle of self-confidence again.
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That summer was a huge revolution in my life. I would wake up every day feeling like a different person. I believe that people rarely change, but a life tragedy can offer the proper conditions for this to happen. After being depressed for four and a half years, I decided I was just tired of feeling like crap. I wanted to be happy again. Within a couple of weeks I was transformed. Meditation played a huge role in all this and it was what got me started on my journey of self-improvement. I don’t remember why, but I ordered a book about meditation I had found online. It was written by a Tibetan monk and a science reporter for the New York Times. The book talked about how meditation had been proven to have positive effects on the brain and other cool stuff like that. I thought why not give this a try. After starting to meditate I also decide to feed my body with proper food and to start some strength training.
Although I need crutches to move around, and going to a gym isn’t an option, I am determined to find a way to workout. So I start developing a home bodyweight routine. I just did a couple of pull ups, push ups, leg raises and dips in the beginning. I don’t have any equipment so I used a door-frame to do my pull ups on (picture below) and a narrow stairway to do my dips. Even though this wasn’t a lot, my muscles started to wake up again. As body-fat started to fall off, muscular curves and vascularity began to emerge beneath my skin. My reflection on the mirror started to remind me of my good old fit self – it was really empowering. My hand eczema started to subside and my brain-fog started to clear up, so I started reading more books. I became obsessed with anything I could find on health, nutrition and exercise but also on self-improvement.
The surgery was scheduled in six months and I promised myself that I would be prepared for it in every possible way. As an athlete most of my life, having a strong body was something that also supported me mentally. I don’t know about you but when I’m in good shape I feel more rooted to the ground. My body and mind feel sturdier. So, I knew that if I wanted to face this surgery with courage and tenacity, I would have to be strong both mentally and physically. For six months I trained consistently both body & mind. Meditating, strengthening my muscles and eating healthy. It all paid off. I was feeling healthier than ever and my body was in great shape. I was ready to face the big challenge.
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