Two years ago this past Friday, I had a heart attack. I am trying not to talk about it as much, because I recognized that I was starting to be defined by this moment. And in truth it was just a moment. A scary, life changing moment, but just a moment. It was an event, not who I am. However, while discussing the mind, I believe this event has a definite place. The recovery was as much mind as it was body. It was a morning like any other morning, I was on the treadmill and everything seemed to be going wrong - my knee brace wasn't staying on properly, my music wouldn't work and I just didn't feel right. I decided to stop which is something I never do - I always run through the discomfort, but this was different. A number of things happened after, but I'll jump to being in the Emergency Room and told that in fact I had, had a heart attack. The next day I was being wheeled into a room where the angiograms where done. I was lucky! I only have one blocked artery. Stinting was not an option because of the location of the blockage and by that evening I was home. The next few weeks would prove to be more challenging then the day of the attack. I have severe headaches which I believe came from the nitroglycerin used during the procedure, I was sad and confused about what to do next. I read what I could about preventing a future attack, changed my diet from vegetarian to whole food plant based/vegan and began cardiac rehab. I can only say how thankful I am for cardiac rehab. For whatever the reason, this was the beginning of my climb out of the rabbit hole. I believe it was because you are gently thrust back into exercise, (I was terrified to get back on a treadmill or to do any other activity for that matter) you are with people that have had a similar or in many cases a worse scenario and you have a medical team monitoring you along the way. Some days were better than others, but for the most part I was excited to go to rehab each day.
When all was said and done, I came back to myself and in many ways back to a better self. As said, I changed my diet, became more comfortable in the kitchen, started yoga, meditation, mindful thinking practices and mindpt, and I continued to run.
Overall, I believe that my bodies health is directly related to my mind. It is imperative that we keep our minds strong, clear and that we care for them. By constantly running around and not taking time for the present moment or just allowing thoughts to drift in and out we are over taxing our brains. They need to rest and recharge and by doing so we can stay healthy, focused and present both for ourselves and the people around us. There is a deep connection between our body and our mind. The science shows that depression and heart issues go hand in hand. The question that has been brought up by many health care professionals is which comes first? The heart issue or the depression. In the end, it doesn't matter. It is clear that we need to take care of both.
With this in mind, I urge everyone to read the linked article below and to start a mindful practice. I was tired for weeks before my heart attack it was a sign I was not paying attention to, amongst other clear signs that something was not right in both mind and body.
Wishing you Grace, Peace & Healthy Living,