It was early in the morning on the Fourth of July this year. I was on the way to the hardware store to pick up some items and then clean my grill.

For weeks, my right hand had been throbbing and going numb finger by finger. I thought for sure I was stressed out with my workload, and carpal tunnel was setting in on my right wrist. Carpal tunnel occurs when the nerves passing through your wrist are compressed.

As I was driving, I had a thought to drop by the med center to make sure everything was OK. I had this thought before, but rejected the opportunity because I felt I didn’t have time.

This time, as I drove past the parking lot of the med center, there were no cars. Everyone was probably getting ready for the holiday.

I stopped in for what I thought would be an in-and-out checkup. The first thing the nurse did was to gauge my blood pressure. It read 218/140. They immediately sent me to the hospital.

Over the past five months, I’ve seen doctors and naturopathic professionals referred to me by family and friends who guided me through a reboot. I lost 41 pounds, back to my college weight.

The process has awakened me to a couple of realities that I promise never to forget.

Being healthy is just as much about your surroundings as it is yourself. Being healthy is the absence of physical and mental weakness. It is a holistic state of well-being.

Are you healthy? I wasn’t.

I was putting off something even though my body was telling me it needed my attention. My training had been to address the symptoms of my health with medical care. What I have found increasingly more advantageous is not just to treat the symptoms with medication, but make healing the ultimate goal.

Healing in this context is balancing our being to a restored state of existence. Sometimes we do not dig deep enough to get to the root of a condition, or when we do, we may choose to deal only with the symptoms.

You have to commit to going deep enough to change. What are you willing to do beyond treating symptoms?

I changed my diet, altered my sleep schedule and worked on the soul objective to get healthy. Regardless of your vocation, your health matters.

The best version of ourselves is a healthy one. Our contributions to our families, our work, organizations and community don’t add up if we aren’t addressing our health.

Set realistic goals that help you get to where you want to go. You can reverse some things that you may think are irreversible, but it will take some digging and help from people who are committed to results.

Jesse J. Wilkerson is the owner of a local design-build firm. His column appears in The Herald Bulletin every other Monday.

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