In 2001 I
learned a valuable lesson that many men struggle with and resist, including me.
It was 20 minutes to midnight and time was running out. I was “on the carpet”
and had worked myself into a bind with no apparent way out and was struggling,
tired, confused and at a loss for what to do next. It never occurred to me that
the way to address the situation was a simple act—a choice so easy, yet hidden
in a blind spot created by years of pride, insecurity, emotional isolation,
self-doubt and shame.
When it finally occurred
to me that all I had to do was “ask for help”, the emotional floodgates opened.
It was in that moment that I had the realization that I was worthy of receiving
help from someone else. Learning to ask for help was a valuable lesson that has
served me well since then, especially recently.
Two months ago in
mid-March, I left the gym short of breath after a workout. By the time I
reached the car, my chest was squeezing tightly. I thought, “What’s going on? I
can’t breathe. Maybe it will go away. I’ll just lie down until it passes.” I
opened the back door, sat on the edge of the seat and leaned back. “No. Don’t
lie down. Go back inside and ask for help—NOW!”
Whether it was my
intuition or a guardian angel that guided me, the lesson I learned 20 years ago
prompted me to ask for help—and saved my life. The EMTs arrived within minutes.
I lost consciousness, was paddled twice on the ride and woke up eight hours
later in the ICU.
Heart disease is the
leading cause of death for men in the U.S., and half of those that died
suddenly exhibited no previous symptoms. Luckily, I lived. Historically, men
are markedly slow to consult doctors and notoriously resistant to ask for help.
Let my lesson be a wakeup call for everyone, and especially for men. Reaching
out and asking for help is a decisive and courageous act of self-love—especially
when it concerns your health.
I was lucky to be in the
right place at the right time on that day in March, and I’m grateful to still
be here because I chose to ask for help in my time of need. I’m doing well and
recovering nicely as I continue to share the journey with you to feel good,
live simply and laugh more.