There are few times that my brother has ever made me cry outside of childish younger sister moments like beating me at Monopoly. But one of the most recent examples was after I got out of the hospital when he told me, “I didn’t know if you were dead.” Before that, as ridiculous as it may sound, I had not processed just how scared my family was when they found me that day.
I see the seizure and the resulting stroke as a sort of breakdown of my body. A last straw. Prior to it, I hadn’t properly taken care of myself in years. Severe depression lead to a declining mental state and a refusal to take care of my physical health. I stayed in bed much of the time and my diet consisted of soda and nutrient-free foods. I remember saying to my mom in desperation one day while driving on the highway, “I want to go away, I just want to go away.” I wanted to get out of town for a while. In order to heal, I thought it was essential to get away from my situation and from the people around me, even those who were desperate to help. I felt that they were the ones who understood me the least, and I wanted to be around people like me. When I learned that going away wasn’t possible, however, I resorted to more bad nutrition, isolation, and inactivity.
Finally, after years of abuse, my body had enough.
Aftermath: Interesting Side Effect
The language I use isn’t meant to minimize what happened. The seizure, stroke and recovery time afterwards was one of the most difficult times in my life and something that I would never choose to repeat. I do, however, try my best to see the silver lining in order to help myself move on.
The silver lining for me was pretty bright. Prior to this, I struggled intensely to eat vegetables. I didn’t understand why, but no matter how much I attempted to disguise them in a recipe, I would gag when swallowing them, even if I liked the flavor.
That sensation, for whatever reason, is gone. I am able to have a truly balanced diet now. And that has been a gift partly because of how much it helped in my recovery.
Importance of Health
When I arrived home from the hospital and it was discovered that I could eat vegetables, my mom knew exactly what to do. She fed me as many of them as she could, along with all of the other foods I suddenly had a taste for. Diet went hand-in-hand with healing, along with the daily exercises I was doing for physical therapy. Without those elements, I don’t think I could have gotten back to work as quickly as I did.
I understand to this day the role that diet and exercise play, although I will admit I am not nearly as diligent as I was a year ago. I have kept some good habits though, and I intend on keeping them in order to prevent another November 3rd.