I started my fitness journey in August 2017, after already ‘slimming down’ by 13.2 kg since December 2015.
My motivation was not the desire to lose weight, but instead a means of coping with my first experience of grief.
The summer 2017 will be always be a summer filled with tragedy, and a summer I will always remember. At the time I was working in news; where my job was to watch, listen and edit incoming and outgoing video/audio content – which was often unfiltered and graphic in nature.
I loved my job, but soon the constant barrage of material from each tragedy began to chip away at my mind, chunks of my sanity were breaking away and I was becoming increasingly more depressed.
Prior to the summer I has experienced multiple points of sadness and pain, spanning from 2016 to the early part of 2017, but they were staggered and sporadic, which made them manageable. I would hurt but I would heal.
However, that summer was not like that – there was no time to heal. Each tragedy hit me harder than the last, until the one which broke me. I can’t bring myself to type the name, but most of you will know it. Its memory is slow and vivid, and it resulted in the abrupt death of someone I cared for, and I knew.
It was a raw pain, that was unfamiliar. Manifesting in fits of hysteria, uncontrollable sobbing and screaming, along with suicidal thoughts. I needed help.
I didn’t know how to cope, and I didn’t know how to grieve.
I tried my best to bury it and to pretend I was okay but I was falling apart. I didn’t want to lean on anyone else, because I thought it would burden them.
Eventually the cracks in my mind started to show, and I was lucky enough that people started to notice as well. I’ve now realised that it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to need people, and I am thankful that I have an amazing support network of friends and family who helped me.
I was able to get help.
In July 2017, I was referred to an occupational doctor after what can best be describe as an emotional breakdown. That referral most likely saved my life, the doctor provided me with the means to grieve, along with suggested mechanisms to cope.
One of these mechanisms was to join a gym.
If you’re experiencing similar thoughts or feelings to those expressed in this post, it’s okay to reach out for help. You can find information about what mental health crisis services are available, how they can help and their times of operation here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/crisis-services/useful-contacts/