I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that I’m the only one responsible for my health. I’m also writing it to remind you of the same thing.
If you don’t take care of yourself then who will?
I think it’s a pretty common occurrence that people, especially men but also women, put off taking care of themselves. We put it off for many reasons and we make excuse after excuse – I’m too busy or it’s not that bad or it will eventually go away.
The human body is amazing and can very quickly adapt to adversity. If the body compensates for an ignored malady for long enough it will eventually become your new normal. We live our lives and endure the back pain or acid re-flux but we must remind ourselves that it’s not normal. We must take responsibility for our health.
I have been feeling sick for the last several months and have yet to go see anyone about it. I will spare you the details but over the weekend it got much worse. So much so, I finally decided to make an appointment to go see my doctor. Why did it take so long for me to act? Maybe I just hoped it would get better and this time it didn’t.
Unfortunately this is not the first time I waited until the symptoms of my ailments became unbearable before I took any action. It sounds so stupid when you write it out like this but as a guy in my 20’s it just wasn’t a priority. I also thought that I was young and strong and could handle it – Well I couldn’t. Not alone anyway.
About 4 or 5 years ago I started suffering from lower back pain that would flare up from time to time. It always got better until January of this year when it started and has continued to get worse. It got so bad that I was a struggling to get out of bed in the morning and put on my socks and shoes.
I waited until I had constant pain before I decided to go see a doctor and physical therapist for treatment. I’m still in physical therapy and it’s not going to be a quick fix. It’s going to take several months of really hard work to be healthy again. If I would have gone when it first started hurting there’s no way I would be in pain right now.
The first two examples here are physical ailments but the third is mental. I’ve suffered from depression from a very young age, maybe 9-10 years old. I’ve always known that I am susceptible to low moods, anxiety, and anti-social behavior but it took me until I was 30 years old to go see a doctor about it.
When I started to write this I wanted to focus on going to the doctor when necessary. However, I started to think that if I was willing to put off treatment of physical illnesses that have no stigma attached to them how many people out there are reluctant to seek help for mental health issues that are cloaked in stigma.
I spent two decades suffering because I didn’t want to bring it up for fear of being seen as weak or less than. I also had it in my head that I would be able to think my way out of it which as it turns out is one of the worst things you can do. I waited so long that I caused myself a lot of personal anguish and even ruined some great relationships along the way. Then I began treatment and felt better very soon after – Pretty obvious right?
Hindsight it 20/20 and of course I should have sought help earlier but I didn’t. I’m writing this so that if you are suffering the same way I was this might help you make the decision to get help much earlier than me.
I didn’t want to give in to the pain or seem weak in anyway so I didn’t deal with it. Mental health is not an easy subject to discuss especially for those of us that are suffering from it. Many of us don’t want to admit we aren’t in control and we need medication or medical assistance to feel “normal”. It’s difficult but it’s one of the first steps in moving forward and taking responsibility for your health.
Why did I let it get so bad before I did anything? It seems to be a pattern of mine – I tell myself that it’s not that bad and put it off and keep putting it off until it can’t be ignored anymore. It happened to be with my back and happened to me with my depression. It’s a terrible way to live and the only way to stop the cycle is to be proactive about my health.
I want this to be a reminder that you are the only one responsible for your health; mental or physical. Try to take the time to recognize the beginning of a health issues and go get it checked out. When you get checked out early it will be minor and can be treated in shorter period of time. If you continue to let it get worse the treatment becomes much harder – As I’m experiencing with my back right now.
I hope if you’re anything like me and have issues that need to be addressed this will be the gentle nudge you need to setup that appointment you’ve been putting off.
I also know that when you are sick and don’t feel well finding a doctor is a huge pain in the ass. The way the system is setup now it takes a lot of work to find a good doctor. If you don’t know what to do or how to find a good doctor please let me know because I’d love to help. I just went through the process and I can share with you what worked best for me.
Thank you for reading and if you liked the article I would love if you shared with just one person who might need it.
I have also started an email list to notify you when I publish articles. If you’re interested in being added to the list please email me with your, name (first and last) and email address. Right now emails will be sent out every two weeks.