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An Accident Nearly Killed Me. Then Therapy Saved My Life.

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“I HATE THE WORLD! I HATE THE FUCKING WORLD! ”

That was me. Alone. In the parking lot of a shopping mall. I ran a quick errand and had little time. If you’ve ever been to a mall in the DC suburbs you know there is nowhere to park and everyone else who drives through the garage sucks. I couldn’t find what I was looking for in the mall and then, after pouting back to my car, I was hemmed in by three other cars that converged in an open area, leaving no room to get out of each other’s way . After waiting – not too patiently – for the cul-de-sac to resolve, I tried to leave the garage only to hit one of those surprising cul-de-sacs that parking garage architects were getting into for the sake of interest.

The night the lights went out: a memory after brain damage

I blew up. And i liked it. Anger was a pleasure to indulge in. Anger is so seductive. I enjoyed being angry. The regret came in retrospect. At that moment there was a little voice in my head that recognized me and let me know how right it was to be angry.

But this time, as she was rampaging in my car, another voice took over my mind. What are you doing drew What the fuck are you doing I heard myself. I was ashamed. Repelled. After everything my wife Sonia and my family and friends had done for me – all the crying and all the sleepless nights and all the paperwork and begging that I get up, leave this damn hospital and live – that was their reward ?

The whole time I had refused therapy. A year earlier I suffered a massive cerebral haemorrhage that comatose me for two weeks and made me semi-deaf for my entire life. I had permanent damage to my frontal cortex that helps regulate mood. I knew the damage was there. I knew what it meant. And yet, even though I had a therapy prescription in my pocket, I still hadn’t left. Insurance wouldn’t cover it, and I didn’t want to pay the full freight. Only thing I clearly needed the most and I was too cheap to get it. I had never seen a therapist in my life. That was because I always assumed I didn’t need it, which was arrogant. I talked a big game about supporting people who speak openly about their mental health problems: people who weren’t afraid to ask for help. But when it came to myself, I might as well have been stuck in 1950. I thought I was just fine.

magary inline

The author after a re-operation on the ear in August 2019.

WITH KINDNESS FROM DREW MAGARY

But I wasn’t very good. I was a sour man eager to quarrel. I stared at my son Colin with daggers when he came to me with technical problems. I got mad at speed limits. Once, when my daughter Flora was rude to me, I reminded her, “Hey, you know I almost died,” like it was a fair card. I yelled at our dog Carter when he barked at me too loudly. Once I pulled hard on his leash when he was no longer walking around the block. Cruel people do that. I’ve fought and fought and fought, all to fight, and I’ve worn everyone around me because of it.

“I’m going to a therapist,” I said to Sonia.

“I think that’s a good idea.” You don’t have to talk it out. When I said I would, we both knew the decision was long overdue.

I googled for therapists. I wasn’t worried about insurance. I didn’t ask for recommendations. I did not look for therapists with a doctor because I had already tried in vain to get myself out of this situation. I didn’t even limit myself to therapists who specifically dealt with TBI patients. I just wanted direct, real therapy. I found a local practice and checked the treatment points on their website: Anxiety, Depression, Self Esteem, Anger Management, Career Change, Grief and Loss, Relationship Improvement, and Parenting. Sold.

I called the practice and they hooked me up with Gabriela Barber, an MS who had an extensive background in treating couples, middle school students, and women with postpartum depression. As an individual patient, I didn’t fit into any of these categories. It does not matter. I have arranged the first free appointment.

Gaby asked me why I needed therapy. I told her that I had anger problems resulting from a TBI. She explained to me that anger has five causes:

1. A need for revenge

2. Feeling helpless

3. Feeling discouraged

4. A need to prove your importance

5. Feeling overwhelmed

Number four. That was me. Every time I got angry with Sonia and the kids, I felt unappreciated and disrespected. Sorry, but am I not helping out here? Don’t I cook or clean and spend time with the kids and do all this boring nonsense without having to nag? You’re lucky I do all this shit. Not every dad does that.

But I wasn’t important. I was an asshole.

Gaby classified me as an adjustment disorder. It was a disposable diagnosis used purely for the sake of bureaucracy. But the sentence stuck in my mind and a more objective picture of me emerged. Giving a name to your condition is often a form of treatment in its own right. In my case, I had an ailment from my bleeding that laced up every other ailment the accident had brought about, a condition I hadn’t noticed or bothered to resolve.

No longer. I have to work. Just like I did in the rehab ward. To tame my mind, I started a dial count in the Notes app on my phone to record every time I lost my shit. For example, one night a smoke alarm went off in the house. I also factored in the time I got unreasonably irritated with a CVS employee and the time I slapped a wall and injured my hand because I was in a bus toilet and the bus didn’t stop long enough to hit the bowl with my piss. They all went into the count. My own permanent record.

magary draw quote

I kept going to the sessions with Gaby and became calmer. More tolerant. More confident, in a way that was useful and not just for show. I wouldn’t be obsessed with things that made me angry. When I got angry, I would take twenty minutes of “constructive time off” and distract myself (usually by playing golf on the children’s PS4) so ​​I wouldn’t think about why I was angry about something. In fact, I had to avoid dwell on these issues in any way, positive or negative.

Most importantly, I learned to get over my own thoughts. After all, I had almost lost the ability to even think. I had to let go of this possessiveness. I took a clinical look at my thoughts and feelings, then wondered whether or not these thoughts helped a situation. If they didn’t help, then I had to fucking shut up or look for helpful ideas from others. If after all this I couldn’t solve the problem, I had to understand that there would be no point in putting pressure on myself or others to solve it immediately. For some problems – for example a permanently deactivated odor system – there is no solution. Your salvation lies in accepting this and adapting your life accordingly. It doesn’t come from sitting in constant fear.

From the book THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT: A Memoir of Life After Brain Damage by Drew Magary. Copyright © 2021 by Drew Magary. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.


Drew Magary is a columnist for Defector and SFGate.

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Men’s Health

Bust Through Leg Day Plateaus With Zercher Squats

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This is your quick workout tip, a chance to learn how to work smarter in moments so you can start exercising right away.



The Zercher Squat works your quads, glutes, abs, traps, and even your biceps.  How to do it with perfect shape.


© SolStock – Getty Images
The Zercher Squat works your quads, glutes, abs, traps, and even your biceps. How to do it with perfect shape.

Everyone crouches (or at least everyone should). Whether you’re a marathon runner trying to gain a competitive advantage, a bodybuilder preparing for the stage, or an everyday iron man looking to build strength and shred it, exercise can help you achieve your goals and deserve it a place in your weekly routine. In fact, nothing builds foreleg muscles better than loading a bar or grabbing some heavy dumbbells and walking on grass. But, as with any exercise, you need to regularly change the way you perform it to keep seeing results.

That’s where a lot of guys get in trouble. They get good at one squat variant – mostly the barbell squat or the front squat – and never deviate from it because they are good at it and think jumping into another variant is inconvenient and awkward. But the moment you think this is the moment you need to force yourself to try something different because you have just experienced one of the first signs of an impending plateau.

Enter the Zercher Squat. Invented in the 1930s by the strong man from St. Louis, Ed Zercher, this advanced front load exercise moves the bar from the tops of the shoulders to the crooks of the elbows. If this sounds slightly masochistic, you are not wrong (holding a heavily loaded Olympic pole in your arms isn’t exactly comfortable), but if you can handle it, the benefits are numerous.

Gallery: I tried a 10 minute fitness session from Simone Biles ‘Gold Over America Tour – It’s Flippin’ Hard (PopSugar)

Simone Biles' Gold Over America Tour features a strong lineup of world class gymnasts.  And before the group's tour stop in Minneapolis, MN, on October 13th, some of them did 10-minute conditioning (because top athletes obviously train before they perform!).  Olympic gold medalist Jade Carey and Olympic team silver medalist Grace McCallum streamed the training live on Instagram, led by gymnastics veteran Chellsie Memmel.  There were two rounds - one with five moves and one with four.  The exercises reminded me of the conditioning sessions I did earlier in training when I competed in gymnastics;  they would involve high-intensity circuits with a mixture of body weight strength and cardio movements.  In addition, my trainers have often included useful exercises that help us perfect our form at each event and thus translate it into better routines (think of: handstand exercises for bars).  For this workout specifically, expect to challenge your core, legs, and upper body with lots of plyometric movements.  It's not a workout for beginners, but you can change it up as needed.  10-Minute Gold Over America Tour Conditioning Exercise Equipment: An exercise mat is recommended.  Instructions: Make sure you warm up beforehand.  Do each exercise for 30 seconds.  You complete the first cycle and then rest for 30 seconds before finishing the second cycle.  After another rest period, you will run through each lap again, as shown below.  That's two rounds, twice in total.  As always, make sure you cool down with some stretches.  Round 1 3 heel lifts, 3 toe lifts: 30 seconds Alternating kinking lunges to squat: 30 seconds 2 jumping jacks, 2 burpees: 30 seconds 3 hollow rocks, 3 opening-closing: 30 seconds Rolling candles: 30 seconds pause for 30 seconds.  Lap 2 Alternating lunge: 30 seconds Pike Push-Up: 30 seconds Wide-narrow-wide knee bend jump: 30 seconds Skater: 30 seconds rest for 30 seconds.  Repeat this entire workout one more time with both circuits.  Review: Gold Over America Tour 10 Minute Fitness Workout Personally, I felt breathless after a single lap.  I liked the fact that the circles included a mix of different muscle targeting exercises so I didn't do any strict core or lower body movements for a few minutes.  The exercises that were the most challenging for me were the combination of double jumper and burpee and the combination of hollow rock and open-close.  The latter requires you to hold a hollow position for 30 seconds, and it's a belly quake waiting to happen!  My next goal will be to repeat the circles four times for a 20-minute workout, as opposed to twice for a 10-minute session.  Put on your best jersey - mine from GK Elite - and get started!  Be sure to check out a breakdown of each step.

The Zercher squat not only forces you to maintain a more upright trunk position – an important point of proper form in almost all squat variations – it also encourages you to fall deeper into the lower position (i.e., walking on grass) and increases engagement in the core, biceps and traps. It is also an advanced form of squat and an excellent way for experienced strength athletes to diversify their routines and challenge themselves with what many consider to be a brutally new way of performing a classic exercise.

Your movement: If you’re relatively new to strength training and haven’t mastered the front squat with the barbell, start there. But if you’ve been training for a while and have practiced both the back and front squats, don’t hesitate to try the Zercher.

As mentioned above, it will likely be uncomfortable at first, but your arms will adjust quickly, and the unique challenge for both your lower and upper body can help make new gains even in the most stale of routines. Start with a lower weight than you would normally use to master the pattern of movement, and then work your way up from there.

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Men’s Health

What Is a Sound Bath? Benefits of Sound Baths

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More relaxed. Less stressed. Connected to your creativity and ready for whatever the day brings. Sounds like an ideal situation, doesn’t it? This can be experienced by people who take a sound bath – a calmer state of mind is one of the main benefits.

Sound baths are an ancient meditative practice with roots in Tibet two thousand years ago and have gained popularity in the United States relatively recently. It’s not uncommon for yoga studios, meditation rooms, wellness retreats, and other experiences related to mind-body practices to provide a sonorous bathing experience.

“In a sound bath, you immerse yourself in the sound frequency,” explains Elizabeth Trattner, an acupuncturist who is nationally certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. “Sound around you creates a” bath “of visceral sound in which you can feel the frequency of the sound in the deepest parts of your body. A sound bath creates a meditative state in which the brain sends out healing brain waves. “

A sound bath can be meditative and relaxing, and often the benefits depend on how you go into the session.

Unlike yoga, there are no physical fitness or flexibility requirements and it is something that can be enjoyed by new and experienced practitioners alike. Here’s what a sound bath is (tip: no soap required), what it does, what benefits it has, and how it can help you relax and reset.

What exactly is a sound bath?

In order to understand what a sound bath is, it is important to clarify what a sound bath is not: a sound bath does not contain water or a bathtub, and no nudity is required. Instead, a sound bath “surrounds” your body with different sounds, resulting in an altered mental state that many proponents find relaxing, similar to meditation.

A traditional sound bath uses different Tibetan singing bowls – a type of instrument that emits different sounds based on the vibrations of a hammer. Up to 40 different Tibetan singing bowls can be used in the sound bath, and the sound is not necessarily the “music” you are used to. Instead, different tones and frequencies can help guide you into a meditative state.

A sound bath doesn’t necessarily have to be a group experience. A sound bath can also be performed solo with the help of a playlist.

Benefits of a sound bath

Sound baths have several advantages. A recent study found that the sounds made in a sound bath can reduce stress and anxiety.

Trattner recommends setting an intention when going into a sound bath. This can be to recharge or to overcome a particular mental block or problem that is preoccupying you. There are no “rules” for experiencing a sound bath. Some people close their eyes and lie down, others sit cross-legged, or others walk around the room.

The sound bath practitioner can share some best practices to ensure that the experience is as good as possible for you and other participants. Sound bath experiences can last between 60 and 90 minutes, but there can also be shorter or longer experiences.

This is how you experience a sound bath

Many yoga studios and other wellness studios offer sound bath experiences. A conversation with local wellness practitioners – acupuncturists, Reiki specialists, yoga teachers – can lead you to a local sound bath. You may also be able to set up a private sound bath with a practitioner. This can be done in person or remotely.

You should come to your sound bath early and wear comfortable clothing. Coming hydrated is also a good idea, as sound is better transported through water, Trattner says (including the water in your body). Falling asleep) and want to stay away from alcohol before the experience.

After the sound bath, you may feel dreamy or relaxed. Take the time you need to “get out” of the sound bath. It can be a good idea to take a sound bath at night and then go to sleep without focusing on screens or devices.

You can also experience a DIY sound bath at home. Some people may like to experiment with their own singing bowl. Other people may find playlists or videos online. If you take a sound bath at home, the same rules apply: make yourself comfortable, drink some fluids, and make sure you have enough time (phone off!) To sink into the sounds and vibrations.

You can have a healthy bath as often (or infrequently) as you want. Trying out different experiences and practitioners, or experimenting on your own, can help you assess how effective a sound bath is for your mindset.

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Men’s Health

Kaupapa Māori research project reveals structural racism in prostate cancer care

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The Oranga Tū prostate cancer project has mapped the “cancer path” for Māori men, highlighting significant gaps in service delivery and health barriers that lead whānau to seek help through emergency rooms.

Associate Professor Jacquie Kidd (Ngāpuhi), who co-led the Movember-funded project, said whānau was without the guidance they needed to feel safe and sure they had the right tools to diagnose and treat, left with their own research.

“Health services need to involve Māori in making decisions about service delivery.

“They need to be aware of the barriers posed by colonization and racism, and actively address those barriers for Māori within their organizations and in relation to their communities,” says Kidd.

Associate Professor Jacquie Kidd says new research shows the health funding system is creating barriers for Māori men with prostate cancer.

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Associate Professor Jacquie Kidd says new research shows the health funding system is creating barriers for Māori men with prostate cancer.

CONTINUE READING:
* Dr. Matire Harwood wants racism to be addressed in the healthcare system
* Face a Fatal Diagnosis: The Men Who Have Prostate Cancer
* Kaupapa Māori solutions are key to better outcomes in Māori cancer, said hui

Nearly 4,000 men in Aotearoa are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and 600 men will die from it, the report said. Within this group, Māori men are later diagnosed, have poorer health, and die 50 percent more often than non-Māori men.

The Kaupapa Māori Project used Te Whare Tapa Whā, a world-renowned Māori health philosophy developed by Tā Mason Durie, to provide its framework. It used a Māori lens to analyze the Māori-specific data and examine the cancer journeys of 15 men, their whānau and 30 Māori and non-Māori service providers.

Physical, focused on the physical dimensions of men’s experiences. Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and control. The family side included the views of family members and the spiritual side looked at spiritual elements such as religion.

First, Kidd said, the researchers reached out to participants to track their progress in the health system. What they found was that it was not the men or their families that were responsible for the lack of care, but the lack of cohesion between the different types of service that caused problems for the men.

It became clear to Kidd and her team that the system needed an overhaul to help patients navigate the cancer path.

A breakdown in communication between health services has created inequality for Māori with prostate cancer, says one researcher.

DANIEL STONE / UNSPLASH

A breakdown in communication between health services has created inequality for Māori with prostate cancer, says one researcher.

Some participants told the researchers that they were concerned about the process and had not received the information they needed to make decisions about their treatments.

One man said, “I never felt that I was given all of the information about the different treatment options, especially radiation. It wasn’t until much later, when I was with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, that I heard about all the possibilities. “

Another said the separation between his GP and the specialist made him wait for his biopsy results.

“My diagnosis was only confirmed when I went back to the family doctor and got the results of the biopsy and he had to ask the specialist who finally diagnosed him with prostate cancer.”

Kidd said this interruption caused unnecessary anxiety in whānau.

Kidd said current health system funding has been tampered with to put smaller health care providers, often Māori health providers, in competition with larger primary health care organizations. This prevented referrals from going to websites that would help whānau deal with the stress of diagnosis with a multi-dimensional hauora focus, not just clinical.

“The lack of wanaungatanga (kinship) between services actually creates this gap. The Pākehā services would know how to achieve this [Māori] Services but don’t know who works there.

“That is structural racism, it is built into the financing structures.”

But the gaps between whānau and health services could be closed if primary health organizations, working with each other, with other services and the communities where whānau live, operate wanaungatanga with a trusted guide to help them provide the right services to their families find, said Kidd.

MÄ ?? ori men need a multidimensional Hauora approach to get the best results after diagnosing prostate cancer, the researcher says.

Lawrence Smith / stuff

MÄ ?? ori men need a multidimensional Hauora approach to get the best results after diagnosing prostate cancer, the researcher says.

“Our vision is a health card for whānau, on which all services are connected and whānau can see everything that is available to them. This includes whānau knowing how to get outside of all services and services that support whānau, ”says Kidd.

Kidd said the project was one more file to add to the stack that showed the system had been building barriers for Māori to seek equitable health care.

“This is just another piece of research that says what the Māori already know.

“To some extent, there is real hope that the Māori Health Authority will change the culture.”

Robert Dunne, Movember NZ’s country manager, said the organization funded Oranga Tū because it recognized the importance of improving Māori health outcomes.

“Education, innovation and an open discussion about prostate cancer are needed to prevent Māori men from dying prematurely,” said Dunne.

“The importance of spirituality and connection with people, land and history has often been overlooked in this area.

“We hope that this innovative approach from the Māori communities in Waikato and Dunedin can be applied across Aotearoa.”

As part of the project, a cinematic short film was produced that captures the life experience of Māori men with prostate cancer in Aotearoa, including some of those who participated in this research.

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