T Nation

Blindsided


#1

This might be quite a long post so I apologise before hand..

Not really sure where to start, just need somewhere to get this off my chest and could do with a bit of advice/moral support etc.

I'm 26, just qualified as a Physiotherapist in August but had a heart attack of unknown cause at the end of June 2015 leaving me in hospital for a month. Initially leaving me with an ejection fraction of 25% and has now increased to 56% and is still rising. I was a fit bloke - no athlete but could do a 5k without training and regularly did resistance training and sprints.

Because of this heart attack I have 2 problems.

Firstly, I have lost my identity - I was active, strong and able to do whatever I wanted to do. I am for all intents and purposes under house arrest (5 months and still not cleared to start rehab) until my consultant makes a diagnosis and treatment plan and. I am going fucking ape-shit crazy because I am an active person who hates sitting on their arse all day. I am also back home as I'm not aloud to work yet and I feel like a 15 year old all over again. I'm so lucky and grateful my parents can support me right now but I hate it.

Secondly, My girlfriend (first love) who I have been with for 3 years (full on living together and talking about marriage and having kids) has dumped me a few days ago...

I am fucking broken. I went three days and did a high ropes/climbing course without going to hospital when the heart attack started (even though I knew there was something terribly wrong) just so I could make her 21st birthday, that's how much my love for her blinded me.

Outside of Uni we live 4 hours apart and since discharge she hardly visited me. 2 weeks after discharge I was at an all time low and suicidal for a short time and all I wanted was to see her, you know - for a cuddle. She went on holiday for 2 weeks with her friend, when I phoned her and told her I was upset she chose the holiday over me she went crazy and told her family and they all turned against me calling me disgusting, nasty and a dictator. The thing is I wouldn't have stopped her if she'd considered my feelings before going and asked if I didn't mind.

We met at a hotel 3 weeks ago and decided to move forward and consider it a blip.

She couldn't get over the "upset" I caused and dumped me a few days ago.

I have sacrificed so much for this girl, I didn't revise for my final exams because she was depressed and suicidal so I was terrified and trying to cheer her up.
I stopped seeing friends because she was always sad, so I stayed in a looked after her. I pretty much done 2 of her essays. This is amongst lots of other things.

I feel like I have been used for 3 years and that the 3 years were a massive lie on her half. I feel like I have now been discarded because I am temporarily out of action and not convenient to her any more. I feel like she is punishing me for having a heart attack and being a bit pissed off about it. I am HAPPY to give lots of support in a relationship, even if I give more as long as I am supported when I need it (which is rare) but she hasn't even bothered to try to support me.

I hate myself for being such a mug these last 3 years and I hate myself for still loving her and for not realising how dependant and clingy she was.

I want to hate her and I want to never want to be with her but I just love her.

What do I do? every time I get up and dust myself off something comes and pile drives me to the ground again.


#2

Pursue regaining your health - without it, you have nothing
Drop this woman into your past - with her, you have nothing
Get absorbed into your new career when you complete rehab


#3

^ that. Not easy, but that’s really it.


#4

Sorry to hear about your issues boss. Get yourself healthy. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Good luck.


#5

Somewhat similar situation:

29 now. Was 27, “biglaw” attorney, very dialed-in. Come from Bum-F Nowhere, USA. Went to State U, Ivy League law school (highest ranked school in the country). Doing well with training/lifting, was considering a BB competition in the coming year or year and a half. Squatting in the mid-400s for reps. Just dialed-in. If I were to characterize myself in one adjective, it would be “dialed-in.”

Wake up one morning last year, extremely distended abdomen, intense pain. It was 2:15am, I’d been up to midnight working on a deal. Never been to the ER in my life. Knew I needed to go.

In hospital for three weeks, almost entire colon removed. Contracted C.Diff during. Thought I knew what pain was before: it was absolute hell. If someone had put a pistol by my hospital bed, I honest to God would have ended it. Still today, if I had to repeat the experience, I would just end it.

Couldn’t return to work for another three months. End up having a massive infection. Surgeries for the next six months. Unofficially lost my position in the firm. They’re letting me stick around but have made it clear that I need to be looking elsewhere (which I am).

Physically, I was broken. Went from a 195lbs athlete to a 145lb man who could not walk up stairs without being winded. The bed rest, along with the fact that I was already on TRT and was not receiving medication for the three weeks I was in the hospital, made everything tank pretty quickly. Then came the infection. Imagine trying to rehab physically, getting off the elliptical you’re pathetically mulling, pressing on your stomach (where there’s a tube) only to have a massive mix of blood and puss come out. That was the daily normal.

I was basically done with surgeries at the end of last calendar year. This calendar year has basically been a “lost year” for me. I spent the first several months in various stages of depressed: trying to get back into working (only to find that I had been essentially replaced), diet to hell (was super strict eater beforehand, which apparently did me a whole hell of a lot of good as my GI system was left in a complete shambles…), sort of marking time at this point.

I don’t even know what substantive advice I would give you other than that it is hard. I look at some positives: my family was there for me throughout in a way that I don’t know that I’d have even imagined. My father and I had a pretty distant relationship, but one night when I was readmitted, he drove four hours to stay with me in the hospital, and he literally wiped my ass for me in the bed as I tried to struggle to wipe my own and missed some spots after a bedpan use.

Gave me my first chance to take a step back and do a real “life eval.” I’ve never been one to sit and stare into space–have always just been “going.” In the hospital, I was in enough pain that I could not concentrate to read, and I was left largely to stare at a wall for weeks. When you’re in that situation, it forces you to take the time to think about where you are. As I face losing my job now, having that time to reflect made me realize that the job I have doesn’t really gel with what my life priorities should be anyway. So facing the future isn’t too scary now.

I’m now a “lesser, suckier” version of who I was a year and a half ago, and in many respects I always will be moving forward. But I’m also a different type of person. I take days where I sit around and do nothing. I do things “average Joes” do that I never did before. I couldn’t read and do work, so I started watching television, movies, etc. Ate junk food. Not always in a healthy way–sometimes in a depressed way–but hey I’ve been depressed, what can I say. But for better or for worse, this is where I’m at, and I’ve at least accepted it and moved on from what’s happened at this point. So now I can face a future that I formerly looked at with horror and at least think it’s something I can endure and maybe even enjoy. And things like training and such are coming back: sure, I suck compared to old-me, but I’m not a slouch either, and I’m just doing the best I can. We’re all just doing the best we can.

This is all just a lot of “off the top of my head riffing,” but I hope that some of it may resonate with you, and I am sorry to hear about this having happened. There is nothing more devastating than being a young person like we are and having our bodies quit on us.


#6

One thing that helps get through dark times is forcing yourself to consider what you are thankful for. On our worst days, if we try hard enough, we can find at least one thing to be grateful for. You already mentioned your parents’ support. I would also be grateful that you figured out that your girlfriend wasn’t “the one” before you married and had kids together. You don’t need to hate her, you just need to move on. I know, easier said than done, but don’t waste too much time regretting or hating yourself for not seeing her true colors sooner. Just focus on moving forward.


#7

Kind of similar…

I’ve suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. The usual signs… Phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up. My wife has been going out with the girls a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, “Just some friends from work, you don’t know them.”

I always stay awake to look out for her taxi coming home, but she always walks down the drive. Although I can hear a car driving off, as if she has gotten out of the car round the corner. Why? Maybe she wasn’t in a taxi?

I once picked her cell phone up just to see what time it was and she went berserk and screamed that I should never touch her phone again and why was I checking up on her.

Anyway, I have never approached the subject with my wife I think deep down I just didn’t want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check on her.

I decided I was going to park my motorcycle next to the garage and then hide behind it so I could get a good view of the whole street when she came home. It was at that moment, crouching behind my bike , that I noticed that the valve covers on my engine seemed to be leaking a little oil.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the dealer?


#8

Also, just take anyone who has any input about your feelings and point of view with a grain of salt unless they’ve been there. I’m sure there are e-tough guys on these boards (etc.) who will tell you to stop wallowing, etc. They have no idea what going through this type of thing is like.


#9

First, Briffault´s law and it´s corolaries:

BRIFFAULTâ??S LAW:

The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.

There are a few corollaries I would add:

Past benefit provided by the male does not provide for continued or future association.

Any agreement where the male provides a current benefit in return for a promise of future association is null and void as soon as the male has provided the benefit (see corollary 1)

A promise of future benefit has limited influence on current/future association, with the influence inversely proportionate to the length of time until the benefit will be given and directly proportionate to the degree to which the female trusts the male (which is not bloody likely).

Then, if you are on top of things don´t commit, enjoy your pick of the litter as long as you are on top of the pecking order, it can be taken away at any moment.

There is no such thing as female loyalty, only what you can provide at the moment, does not matter whether you knew her 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years.


#10

[quote]MinusTheColon wrote:
Also, just take anyone who has any input about your feelings and point of view with a grain of salt unless they’ve been there. I’m sure there are e-tough guys on these boards (etc.) who will tell you to stop wallowing, etc. They have no idea what going through this type of thing is like.[/quote]

…or they do and are offering the advice they think is best. Either way. But I do agree, take the advice with a grain of salt, but at the very least CONSIDER it, and also consider the source.


#11

[quote]MinusTheColon wrote:
Also, just take anyone who has any input about your feelings and point of view with a grain of salt unless they’ve been there. I’m sure there are e-tough guys on these boards (etc.) who will tell you to stop wallowing, etc. They have no idea what going through this type of thing is like.[/quote]

yes, I’m sure no one has lost a woman they have cared about or have had a life altering illness before…


#12

You dodged a bullet.
Thank Jesus you she’s out of your life before any commitments/kids were made. I promise you in a year or three you will look back and laugh at this.

As others have said focus on rehab and making some coin. Also once youre out there dating again learn to spin a dramatic experience like this into a good story with high and lows etc (without sounding bitter) and girls will eat that shit up


#13

Lets talk about a few things

  1. You aren’t dead! You could have had a heart attack while driving a car, maybe killing someone else if it wasnt you. You could have been lifting in the gym and dropped dead on the spot, ending any hope you have for any future. At least living through the heart attack gives you the opportunity to find a cause and solution so you can continue to live the life you had.

  2. Your ex girlfriend sounds like a piece of shit. Get over her and move on.

  3. You didn’t have a stroke. A stroke, in my opinion, is worse than a heart attack. There is a much higher probability for brain damage and permanent disability. To think if you stroked you might be paralysed and take years to recover or worse, lose your mind.

  4. 5 months to a year really isnt a long time. Take the opportunity to do something else besides being active. Read, write, watch tv, be creative. Hell, read about lifting if you want.

  5. Based on my own experiences and the experience of others that I have read about, ultimately how well you recover will be on how you react to the cards dealt to you. You usually cant control what good and bad may happen, but you can control your response to adverse situations. From my own insight, the people who end up as losers tend to be broken easily - get knocked down and stay down. The winners get their ass up and try again, even if it is a bitch.

  6. I think it is important for you to grieve. Write, go to therapy, talk to people. You wont move past this point in your life if you dont find closure within yourself.


#14

Sorry for your troubles. I have no real advice for you other than to take care of yourself physically and mentally, focus on what you can control, make peace with what you can’t and to keep getting back up and dusting yourself off.

As others have alluded to, you are fortunate to have found out what your girl was made of before you were balls deep with house, kids etc… Of course, you don’t feel fortunate, but you are. Sooner or later life kicks our ass. If our spouse won’t have our back, it’s better to know sooner than later. That doesn’t make it hurt any less today though. Sorry.

Also, anybody who tries to play the “so and so has it worse than you” card is not to be taken seriously. When my wife was in the hospital with cancer the lady in the next bed had blood, bone and brain cancer. My wife “only” had breast cancer and was “lucky” by comparison. Doesn’t matter. It was still by far the worst thing my wife had ever been through and it sucked hard, just as I suspect that this is the worst thing you’ve ever been through and it sucks hard. Nonetheless, you’ll get through it, if you choose to.

All the best.


#15

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
Lets talk about a few things

  1. You aren’t dead! You could have had a heart attack while driving a car, maybe killing someone else if it wasnt you. You could have been lifting in the gym and dropped dead on the spot, ending any hope you have for any future. At least living through the heart attack gives you the opportunity to find a cause and solution so you can continue to live the life you had.

  2. Your ex girlfriend sounds like a piece of shit. Get over her and move on.

  3. You didn’t have a stroke. A stroke, in my opinion, is worse than a heart attack. There is a much higher probability for brain damage and permanent disability. To think if you stroked you might be paralysed and take years to recover or worse, lose your mind.

  4. 5 months to a year really isnt a long time. Take the opportunity to do something else besides being active. Read, write, watch tv, be creative. Hell, read about lifting if you want.

  5. Based on my own experiences and the experience of others that I have read about, ultimately how well you recover will be on how you react to the cards dealt to you. You usually cant control what good and bad may happen, but you can control your response to adverse situations. From my own insight, the people who end up as losers tend to be broken easily - get knocked down and stay down. The winners get their ass up and try again, even if it is a bitch.

  6. I think it is important for you to grieve. Write, go to therapy, talk to people. You wont move past this point in your life if you dont find closure within yourself.[/quote]
    I love this response.

You’re a true Alpha! (Joking… sorry couldn’t resist… lol)


#16

[quote]treco wrote:
Pursue regaining your health - without it, you have nothing
Drop this woman into your past - with her, you have nothing
Get absorbed into your new career when you complete rehab[/quote]

this dude nailed it. Make your health, career and forgetting about that asshole 100% of your priorities.

You’re still very young, plenty of time to make even more mistakes.


#17

[quote]Yogi wrote:
You’re still very young, plenty of time to make even more mistakes.[/quote]

William Wallace is smiling doon on ye.


#18

[quote]pgtips wrote:

Secondly, My girlfriend (first love) who I have been with for 3 years (full on living together and talking about marriage and having kids) has dumped me a few days ago…

[/quote]

I am very sorry for you for multiple reasons. But it sounds like your heart attack may have saved you from permanently hitching yourself to a complete bitch who would not be there for you when the going got rough.

Sounds like you are making steady incremental improvements. You’ll have a rough year or two, but climb out of it a better man.

In the mean time, move on from the bitch.


#19

[quote]polo77j wrote:
Kind of similar…

It was at that moment, crouching behind my bike , that I noticed that the valve covers on my engine seemed to be leaking a little oil.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the dealer?[/quote]

Just trade it in and get a better bike…

On the serious note, OP, hang in there. Treco’s advice is spot on.

At least you found out after 3 years about your girlfriend.

It took me 25 years and nine kids to learn that lesson about my ex.


#20

it is the little things
when i cant reach my feet my wife ties my shoes
when i cant reach the back of my head my wife combs my hair
after i really f–k up my wife drives me home from the hospital
she really has to be crazy to put up with my stupid shit
they are out there you just got to find them