Jason Atkinson – Improving your quality of life
Jason Atkinson was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy eight years ago during basic training with the US Air Force. He’s since written a book about overcoming obstacles to live your best life, A Life of Heart: Unlocking Your True Potential.
I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy about eight years ago. My disease is genetic, so who knows how long it’s actually been taking a toll.
I found out about my disease when I was going through basic training with the USAF. Needless to say, I was devastated when I learned I could no longer serve. They were sending me home and I was left to figure this “thing” out on my own.
Fast forward to now, and so much has happened in my life, and in the lives of the people I hold closest to me. This disease isn’t just something that affects you physically, it tears at you mentally and emotionally too.
Coping with the physical changes was hard. I had to re-learn how to live my life. I used to jog for miles, just for fun. Now I can barely walk a mile. I used to work out because I enjoyed it. Now I have to be careful to not overdo or strain too much.
What I didn’t expect was the mental and emotional toll it would take on me, and then by cause and effect, my family. I can tell you right now, I have spent some time in the hospital because I wanted to take my life and be done. Even though I had changed how I lived, I hadn’t learned how to change how I thought and felt about everyday things.
I’m writing this blog to encourage you, to uplift you, and to help you focus on what really matters. This isn’t an easy or simple thing to write about. But it’s worth it, if it changes a life.
I wrote a book called “A Life of Heart”, and the only reason I tell you this is because writing that book allowed me to see things differently. I was able to see the value in the life I could still live.
I didn’t always think about other people in the way that I do now. Sure, I had sympathy thoughts and the occasional nice word to say, but it stopped there. Now that I have learned how to live with the disease, I am a new man inside and out. And you can be too.
When we start to see that our life isn’t about us, everything changes. When we begin to notice the little things, we change inside. Then we practice what we feel, that’s when we change other people. Our lives are even more valuable now than ever before because we know what is at stake. We know what we can lose if we stop trying.
I encourage you to be the light for someone else. Show them how passionate you can be, even if you have heart failure. Your life is so valuable to another person – you just need a chance to see it for yourself.