My motivation

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/ 


 

 

 

Introduction

I’m never quite sure how to introduce myself, the advice given usually compiles of two factors – be yourself and tell them about a fun hobby/interest you have. My reaction, contrary to that advice, is also one of two things – clam up entirely and forget how to use words to communicate or ramble on a tangent about nonsensical things whilst nervously laughing.

To avoid my usual anxiety that comes with introductions, I’m going to take a different approach and tell you about the past couple of weeks of my life instead.

Two weeks ago, following a nostalgic night of celebration and well wishes at a friend’s leaving drinks, I decided to start a ‘health kick’. This ‘health kick’ consists of reducing my intake of simple carbohydrates, my intake of alcohol, and also attending the gym 4-5 times a week. The reason behind it, is my desire to be my best self; both physically and mentally stronger than the person I am, and used to be.

The past few years have been difficult for me to say the least, a roller-coaster of emotions triggered by a series of unforeseen events. During that time my mind became entrenched in my depression, and I struggled to see hope.

Depression is not a new feeling for me, and has been in the shadow of my existence as long as I can remember. I’ve taken antidepressants for four years and tried various psychotherapies, following my diagnosis of a tri-factor of mental illnesses; PTSD, major depression and severe anxiety. These have helped me to regain part of my life, but I realised there were still many parts missing, which were attainable if I were healthier.

After only a couple of weeks I have noticed that my mood is elevated, I look healthier, I have more energy, and I feel in control of my life. I feel stronger.

Not each day has been fantastic, but they are better than before. I still had stressful moments, especially during ‘snowmageddon’, and rush hour commuting at underarm height – where my head is often mistaken for an armrest, and other commuters wonder why I can’t contort myself into a thimble to save space. And also being taken off guard by the negative reaction of some friends, when I told them I couldn’t come out during the middle of the week because I had spin class, or that I wasn’t drinking on a night out.

These moments, despite not being positive in nature, served as reiteration of why I was making this change. I’m doing this for me, to be my best self.


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/