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My History of Injury and Depression


The first injury that I ever had was an inguinal hernia on my right side. It happened when I was 21 years old while I was in the middle of deadlifting. I felt like I was kicked in the groin. So, I went to the doctor and confirmed that it was in fact a hernia. The doctor informed me that it was exceedingly small, and I did not need surgery at the time at some point, I likely would.

What I did not know then was that I forever altered my ability to regulate intra-abdominal pressure, putting more pressure on my lower back and making it more difficult to stabilize my lower back, hip, and pelvis. A few years later the next injury that I had was of course - my lower back. I was in the middle of doing a backloaded step up and just as I was going to step onto the platform, my hip shifted, and I blew my back. I had bulging and herniated discs at L4 L5 S1.

After my back injury at 24 I had about four pretty serious injuries in a span of 18 months. From the hindered ability to regulate intra-abdominal pressure, my fascia began to tighten up and grip down setting off a chain reaction of injuries. The first, and the worst was a 40% posterior labral tear in my left shoulder. It was the first time I contemplated surgery, which I had never had. Not one surgery for any of these injuries. I am now 16 years removed from my first injury and 11 years from my last injury. This is something I am proud of.

My next injury was a 20% anterior rotator cuff tear, also in my left shoulder (again, while working out). Following the shoulder injuries were my knees: sprained MCL and medial retinaculum in my left knee while playing soccer, and then the same injury to my right knee while running from fireworks. I was injuring myself often and found myself in a sling or on crutches every three to five months. It was frustrating, cumbersome, and discouraging. All of this caused me to revisit my ideology around exercise. I just remember thinking:

“Something is wrong. Exercise is supposed to be good for you.”

What I found was that exercise - not done well - will hurt you. The thing that I loved to do was preventing me from doing the thing that I loved to do. It was becoming increasingly more difficult for me to continue to strength train. I started to revisit and question the principles, methods, and techniques I learned over the years. Why? Because all my injuries were from exercise. Either during exercise or from a buildup of trauma, dysfunction, or loss of mobility brought on by exercise. I realized that I was sacrificing health to look healthy. I realized I needed to work-in more if I wanted to continue to work out. Otherwise, I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but I will pay a heavy price. 

In some ways I already have. Not structurally, but mentally.  Throughout my life, I've struggled with depression.  Like many cases, there are a lot of factors that contribute to it. Different experiences, habits, genetic history, and choices contribute to the likelihood of depression. The brain is complicated and extremely sensitive to fear and reward. For different reasons, and in different ways, the brain changes making a person more prone to experience depression or any number of other mental health complications. I won't claim to have yet discovered all those factors. I intend to continue to discover those root causes to be able to address them more specifically and efficiently. I know that poverty played a role - first-world poverty, that is. I know that insecurities played a role. I know that passion and pleasure played a role. I know competitiveness and comparison played a role. Pride, ego, and not knowing how to lose played a role. My choices to use and abuse steroids and marijuana played a role. Missing time with my children from working a lot, (which also contributed to marital problems), the imbalance of fear and reward, and the mishandling of fear and reward, either through circumstance or choice - resulted in big ups and downs throughout my life.

I was never good at failing and as I got older my coping abilities also suffered.  Experimentation with steroids for a brief time and my use and abuse of marijuana as a young adult all played a role in putting me at a disadvantage for coping and experiencing feelings of joy and excitement in my everyday life. As a husband and father, I wanted to fight for that joy and excitement. I realized I am a character in their story, and I want to be the best I can be for them.

This is where Stress Undone™ was born - my desire to be the best I can be for them - and it is what I have to offer and share with you: information, resources, and tools to help you gain understanding and insight into the relationship between stress and illness, a lens to view stress, health, and fitness through, and all you need to utilize exercise effectively, as a tool to systematically change patterns and habits that will lead to improved resiliency, and limit the number of times stress gets the best of you throughout your life, helping you fight disease, prevent injury, and build optimal health that is sustainable.