Springing Into Action

John McManamy Health Guide
  • I just got back from a power walk. Allow me to elaborate:

    In October last year, I slid into a serious depression that turned into a winter hibernation. Yes, the depression lifted, but I rarely ventured out in the cold to do the kind of walking that would have energized me and kept my spirits up. Instead, I often found myself running out of steam and needing to take more naps than usual.

    Yesterday, I felt myself wanting to hit the sack at 8:00 PM, despite having had an early afternoon nap. That did it.

    We had just returned from having birthday cake with my in-laws. My father-in-law had turned 79. When we drove up, he was outside watering his front garden. The temperature was about 40 degrees and the water from the hose was icy cold. His yard looks like the Garden of Eden. I can’t even keep a houseplant alive.
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    In October last year, my father-in-law came within a few hours of dying. Had they scheduled his surgery a day later, toxins would have flowed into his blood and killed him in minutes. The surgery itself was risky, and a good deal of his insides became outsides. The surgeons had done their job. Now it was up to my father-in-law, lying in bed with tubes hooked up to him every which way.

    “He’s as strong as a bull,” I assured my wife. “He’ll be fine.” He was always out in his garden, I reminded her, and he always took early morning walks. Staying idle was an anathema to him. “If anyone can get through this, it’s your dad,” I kept telling my wife. “He’s in better shape than I am.”

    I wasn’t kidding.

    A few weeks ago, he was laughing and smiling and looking like he could beat me in arm wrestling. Yesterday he could have wiped the floor with my face.

    A few hours later, as I was struggling to stay awake, the realization struck with full force: “If I had been through what your father had been through,” I told my wife, “I would be dead. He’s an inspiration to me.”

    It is spring, a time of rebirth. I will dedicate myself anew to my wellness, physical and mental. This morning, I cued up some Beethoven on my iPod, and headed out the door with a determination I hope will last. No rationalizing, no excuses. One step at a time …

    Learn more about treatment for bipolar disorder and depression and find tips for taking action to manage the condition.
Published On: March 27, 2006