The mental aspect of this program is just as important as the physical aspect. In fact, I have come to learn that DDPY is more than just a way to lose weight and tone my physical structure: it is a total transformation. In the past when I have used this program, with good success until I allow the pink clouds to derail me, I always knew this but I never appreciated it or understood it to a level that it would keep me going and becoming the best Matthew Whitt I could be or achieve. But perhaps the single best thing DDPY has done for me is to help my mental health.
In the ICU we have either one patient or sometimes two depending on the difficult nature of their illness. I had a patient with whom I had become familiar with on an intimate level. She was 30 years old and came to the ICU simply because she was short of breath and the physician was concerned and wanted her to be monitored full-time. She was COVID positive. Everyday she got a little worse. We talked often about many things in her life. She told me how she had always wanted to have kids of her own and that she loved her nieces and nephews as if they were her own. She talked about what she wanted to do when she got out of the hospital which included going with her sister and brother-in-law on camping trips with the family and taking up new hobbies. But alas, on Thanksgiving Day and after two months of being her nurse, she passed away from COVID. It was sad as I had gotten to know her family well during this time and on that same day her dad was transferred to the ICU for COVID. After her death I was able to take him and be his nurse.
He came in walking and talking and just like his daughter, I allowed myself to become close to him. I think he just gave up his will to live after his daughter died because a month later, on Christmas night, he died from COVID. It was hard on me but I couldn't imagine what his family was going through at the time. I had been talking with them on the phone and meeting them in front of the hospital two to three times a day for the past 5 months.
Then, on New Year's Eve, I was handed a note and gift basket from this wonderful family. It was a personal two-page, handwritten note to me telling me thank you and expressing their love for me and what we were doing in the ICU. This family, that suffered such catastrophic loss, took the time to express their love for me and to pray for me. I couldn't hold back any more and just burst into tears. In fact, as I write this, it is hard not to cry.
I don't know of a harder time in my life. I was a US Marine. I've spent 20 years as a paramedic and RN. I have seen the best and worst in humanity but this past year took a toll on me. For the first time I suffered depression. I lost 30 pounds in an unhealthy manner. I became extremely fatigued to the point that when I wasn't on shift, I simply say around or stayed in bed. I became an inactive father and a non-existent husband. The Devil had a hold of me and I found myself not praying.
My time in the ICU had come to an end and in a month I was going to start working the ER again. I decided to take that time and work on myself. I began to talk with my pastors, church friends and other friends. The first day was a struggle just to get out of bed and for the first few nights, I barely slept a wink. I would wake up hot and sweaty then become cold and cover back up only to get hot again and throw the blanket off. I had to force myself up everyday but bit by bit, moment by moment, I started to come around.
I began to read Positively Unstoppable and suddenly motivation started to seep back into my veins. I began to sleep better, which made getting up easier. I began to accomplish one task at a time whether it was to remove an old tree stump in the yard or just clean up the house and fertilize the yard. Then I became even more motivated and decided it was time to start taking care of my physical health. It is now Day 5 of my DDPY and I am happy. This sinking feeling of depression is gone and I feel good. Not like a manic swing to good but a permanent swing to better that only healing provides.
I am not saying this will be the case for everyone as many people with depression have a physiological imbalance that requires medical attention. I just think mine was situational and before it became physiological, I was able to stop it because of the program.
At any rate it is Day 5 and I have cleaned the back porch off and am building an area where I can work on our bicycles as we get ready for Simeon's birthday party tomorrow. It should be fun. Many of our friends, family and neighbors are going to line up in their cars which will be decorated and do a drive by parade for him as we watch from the front yard. Then some close family will come to the house for a small get together and cake.
I am so thankful that I will be here spiritually, physically and mentally. Thank you to all of you that have been so encouraging and welcoming to me as I continue this never-ending journey!