I am going through something incredibly difficult and painful right now. Writing about this may be considered a little too open, honest, and transparent. It may be considered by some as an over share. However, I’m going to share this anyway, in hopes that it reaches someone who needs to hear it or read it, who may be going through something similar.
For 20 years I have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease.
The last time I ruptured or herniated a disc was five years ago, in 2014. Yesterday, I leaned over to tie my shoes while sitting in a chair, and herniated a disc. Admittedly, I have been slacking off from my normal, habitual, daily routines, and this experience serves as an excellent reminder how important my daily nutritional intake and my daily exercise routines are.
Throughout the years, because of degenerative disc disease, I have suffered through periods of extreme pain and discomfort, being unable to walk or move for weeks or months at a time, which has caused me to lose many jobs. It has caused reactions and results from me including depression, feelings of hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, and feelings of complete and utter worthlessness.
Thankfully, over the years, I have come across many tools to use to battle the depression, hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide and worthlessness. Many of these tools have been implemented as a daily routine, helping me to heal much more quickly and live a much more enjoyable, fulfilling, pain-free lifestyle.
I am going to share with you how I USED to deal with these things, making myself vulnerable and exposing myself for the imperfect human I am, then I’m going to share how I NOW deal with these things, (Yes, I am still far from perfect, finally learning it’s actually about PROGRESS, not PERFECTION,) in hopes that someone who may need this information can try these things out for themselves, experiment with them, and find out if these things will work for them or not.
Years ago, with a younger mind, a lower level of grit and emotional fortitude, and less experience with pain, these are the ways that I USED TO deal with this degenerate disc affliction, as well as the emotional trauma and pain of life, in general:
-lay on the couch, watching television, Netflix, and pornography, enjoying the immediate dopamine hit of the quick but temporary relief this provided. This led to a devastating pornography addiction that lasted for YEARS.
-remained incredibly closed off towards others, never communicating or opening up to even my closest, most beloved relatives and friends, always acting as if everything was just fine, while dying inside. I became an expert actor, and had everyone believing that I was doing great.
-hope and believe the downtime, relaxing, and laying around, would help my body heal more quickly. This led to an affinity towards, and habits which produced, prolonged periods of extreme laziness, which was easily adopted into a daily set of rituals and routines, and manifested itself in my daily lifestyle for YEARS.
-religiously take all prescribed medications, which included anti-inflammatories and addictive pain-killers, and led to a lowered state of consciousness and thinking, muddled thoughts and confusion, which contributed to poor decision-making skills. These skills eventually became habits, a way of life, and eventually a destructive lifestyle. I was told by three different doctors that I was screwed, there was nothing I could do, and that I would never work again. I was told to go on disability. I was told I was disabled, which furthered the progression of my thoughts and beliefs that I was going to remain worthless as a provider, and as a person, since I based my value partially on how well I could provide form myself and my sons.
-become discouraged and anxious because of the amount of time it actually took for my body to heal. These feelings contributed to a victim-style mindset, MORE feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and anxiety, and a growing desire to no longer be alive and be a burden on the people I loved.
-over-eat, due to boredom, the food that was so easily accessible, the anxiety caused from the physical pain, and the emotional pain brought on by feelings of hopelessness and the overwhelming “reality” that I was worthless as a provider. Months of habitual over-eating foods lacking in ANY nutritional value, GREATLY affected my chemical and hormonal levels, and caused me to gain a LOT of weight, which then led to more pressure on my discs, lessened ability or desire for exercise, and an even darker, more severe and dangerous depression.
-shut myself in a dark room, with the curtains drawn, alone in my dark, hopeless thoughts, with a growing unwillingness to answer any phone calls or texts, not wanting to see anyone, or talk with anyone. This caused me to spiral downward and out of control, watching MORE unhelpful content (hoping for that ever-diminishing hit of dopamine and temporary relief from pain) and becoming even more disconnected from people and actual reality.
-took anti-depressants and mood-stabilizers, which didn’t help with my weight, but instead, caused me to gain and retain even MORE weight, causing a repeated cycle of self-loathing, anxiety, stress, anger, self-pity, feelings of worthlessness, depression, and suicide-only causing me to watch more and more unsavory content, eat everything in the house, and feed this destructive pattern everything it needed to grow into a monster and take over my mind, words, actions, and my life.
I became an out-of-control, powerless, incapable, pitiful, unattractive, loveless, undesirable person, and the entire time, I was trying to raise my three sons, the very best I could. I dragged them through numerous relationships, always seeking to fill a huge void within me through other people. Seeing myself as a terrible father, without the proper tools to raise my sons better, made me feel hopeless, until I learned that I could BECOME BETTER, and learn all about DIFFERENT TOOLS available out there, and a completely different life waiting for me to become more attractive, so that it could be attracted to me.
Starting in 2014, and after just five years of learning about the importance of Personal Development, proper healing techniques, and the importance of momentum (as a result of a daily set of rituals and routines), as well as habits, consistency, focus, practice, repetition, and proper habit-implementation, I realized something had changed! Just this morning I quickly noticed how I was being pulled in a direction that would not benefit me and that would hinder my healing process, which means I am much more self-aware, even though I still have a long ways to go.
This morning, I was up at the normal time of 3:20 am for work with my wife, but in extreme pain, unable to roll over in bed or even stand up. Immediately I craved sugary, delicious, comforting foods.
I was tempted to relapse, and immediately visualized myself waiting for my wife to leave so I could eat like everything containing carbs and sugars, drink all the beers in the fridge, and watch porn, all alone and in secret, (which is how we guilty and ashamed addicts tend to prefer to do things we are ashamed of,) afraid she would judge me as harshly as I would judge myself, (which she rarely does,) wanting to do these things in private so I wouldn’t feel even MORE ashamed and guilty, and then crawling out to the living room to lay around on the couch all day and binge-watch Netflix with our dog.
Thankfully, I immediately recognized where these thoughts and actions would lead. Been there, done that! I knew I needed to replace the OLD with the NEW.
-forced myself out of bed, made the five minute, painful journey of zombie-shuffling to the kitchen, and packed my wife’s lunch. I had to actually go back later to feed our dog, as I was in too much pain while standing up, and had to lay back down.
-I crawled back into bed, since I wasn’t able to go to work, and as a part of my daily routine, I re-wrote the daily message for July 15 on my website, and posted it.
-I read the daily excerpt from Melody Beattie’s book, THE LANGUAGE OF LETTING GO.
-in the desire to connect with other, like-minded people, I read through a few comments left on my previous Facebook posts, and came across this message from Ed Mylett, https://youtu.be/BXJWlWtUvnk which is all about how our actions cause echoes throughout the eternities to come, influencing our generations to come, which immediately motivated me, resulting in added momentum to an already accomplished morning.
-I then hurried to listen to a podcast I had downloaded next week with which to bombard my brain with the content I NEED, about HABITS, rather than the content which my basic self wanted to simply be entertained by. https://youtu.be/s9uDVVWN_ZE
-I remembered my new habit of setting an alarm, (learned from Brendon Burchard’s book, HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS,) for each hour to do Box Breathing, and re-focus on my intentions for the next hour. Since I wasn’t at work, I decided to do it at home, throughout the day, repeating to myself each hour while Box Breathing: “I will over-hydrate, stretch, ONLY eat foods which are high in nutritional value, and either listen to highly valuable content, or create highly valuable content.” The entire point behind over-hydrating came from an Interview featuring Shawn Stevenson, in which he taught that the very lastly body part to assimilate fluids is our discs, between the vertebrae in our spine. https://youtu.be/4Mtw3vBQYOg
-crawled outside to lay on a blanket in the sun for 15 minutes with my dog, Daisy, knowing the vitamin D would help re-energize me, and brighten not only my day, but my mind.
-throughout the day, knowing the importance of CONNECTING, I reached out to my wife, my sons, my parents, and a few friends, explaining to them what had happened, how I felt, and what I was doing to make the situation better, instead of worse. Their responses and the fact that they obviously care for me as much as I care for them was encouraging, empowering, and energizing, helping to create even MORE momentum towards the creation of an AMAZING day, rather than a hopeless, discouraging, dis-empowering day.
-since food is easily accessible and I want ALL of it, for the instant relief, release of pressure, instant gratification and comfort, and instantaneous dopamine hit I knew I’d get if I ate it, I decided to fast all day, only eating a Quest protein bar and drinking a Keto coffee. Tonight I will insist of myself that when I break my fast, I will only eat food which is high in nutritional value, and I will exclude all carbs and sugars.
I am so grateful I began implementing these easy-to-do, and also easy-not-to-do items on my daily checklist, to create momentum for each day. These things are so incredibly difficult for me to do. I have learned, however, that it is by consistently doing the difficult things that we build credibility with ourselves, grow our self-confidence, and fell a well-deserved and EARNED sense of pride in ourselves.
Each day is a battle for EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. The results we suffer from or enjoy 10 years from now, or even three months from now, will be decidedly a direct result from the thoughts, words, and actions we choose every moment of every day.
Every minute matters. Every second counts.
I am so incredibly grateful for the daily habits I have put into place over the last five years so that I am now much more capable of dealing with the extreme physical, unexpected, pain much more effectively. The changes in my personal habits came because of an evolution in my personal belief system. These changes in my belief system came from new information, mostly from teachings on the YouTube shows called, Impact Theory, Health Theory, and Women of Impact, and all of Tom and Lisa Bilyeu’s MANY incredible, prolific, high-achieving, highly successful guests. Many of them have their own shows and podcasts, which also have benefited me and everyone I know a great deal. Some of the other most influential people I listen to are Earl Shoaff, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, and Jim Rohn. Without this NEW information, it is highly unlikely that I would have ever become a NEW man.
If a total POS like the man I USED to be can make these improvements in a five-year time period, ANYONE can. Most people will be able to far exceed my results if they want to!
If we want a new life, WE have to create it. This is done by accepting full responsibility for our lives and by creating NEW habits to replace the OLD ones. This is not easy; however, it is totally worth it.
The most beautiful part about my transformation is that my three sons witnessed the entire thing, every step along the way, and desired to DO better in order to BE better, as well. Finally, after these last five years, I am beginning to feel like a responsible and worthy father. I can now honestly say that I am proud of who I am as a father, a husband, and a person.
In 2014, after I began to transform my mind, and my outward, physical appearance began to catch up with the inner environment I was working so hard on creating, one of my sisters asked me if I was on meth. I explained to her that I had started to learn a new way of doing, in order to live a new way of being, and that diet and exercise was a part of it. I had lost 60 lbs. since the last time she had seen me, had stopped taking all medications, and had begun a completely different, more-educated type of nutrition and life plan.
I have shared many helpful hints I have learned over the last five years on my website, while sifting through THOUSANDS of hours of content, always with this question in mind: What can I learn today that I might be able to experiment with and implement into my daily routine or my life, in order to be a better version of myself? Because of the things I have learned and habitually implemented into my daily routines and rituals, I have now had the opportunity to coach. connect with, and learn from people all over the world.
Results don’t lie. Good, or bad, we can look back over the last three months of ANY area of our lives and see why we may be experiencing our current circumstances.
When someone is happy, healthy, and wealthy, and we are NOT, it’s best to learn from that person! What are they doing that we aren’t, that we could easily make a habit of our own, and improve ourselves and our own lifestyles, over time? When we are trying our way, doing our very best at it, and it doesn’t seem to be working, or producing the results we wish for and desire, why not look around, seek, and search for others whose decisions, choices, habits, rituals, routines, and consistent efforts ARE producing the results we want in our lives?
In order for life to change for us, WE must change. In order for things to get better for us, WE must get better.
I wish you well on your own life journey, and throughout your own personal, unique, life-long healing journey.
We are all ONE. When ONE of us heals, we ALL heal.
Please remember to share this article with others, especially those suffering from debilitating pain, be it physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental. There is ALWAYS something we can DO differently, in order to BE different and LIVE differently.
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Remember: Mindset matters. Character counts. That which we choose to consistently focus on is everything!
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