Standing on this stage 5 years ago I told my story of overcoming my mental health struggles & how I used fitness as a band-aid for a wound that needed stitches.
A suicidal, depressed, anxious version of me that felt helpless found so much control in living life with disordered eating & rigid exercise regimens.
If I “couldn’t control” how I might feel at the end of the day, at least I could make myself a better athlete (volleyball player & jujitsu at the time I got into fitness) & I could “improve my body image & confidence” by changing my body shape.
I was wrong.
The fitness lifestyle & competing did not save me, but it did help show me what I really needed.
After my 1st show, my problems were of heightened awareness & I was finally ready to face them.
I had been to therapy for a short time when I was 18 (this was before my first show & before being aware of my rigid lifestyle habits) & it made a positive impact on my life.
At the time, I didn’t know I’d eventually pursue a career in the mental health field, but I can say that I never forgot the value of having someone to offer new insights & encourage different thinking.
I stopped feeling suicidal after an attempt that taught me & showed me in the moment that I was meant for more even if I didn’t know “what” yet.
But I wanted to be proactive with my mental health & personal development from then on.
I mended my relationship with food on my own after my first show in 2015, before immersing myself into more personal development in mid-late 2016.
I hired business & personal development mentors, invested tens of thousands of dollars into myself & my vision, and made a commitment to myself for growth.
I didn’t know how it would look but wow, it really was amazing and turned out even better than I imagined.
I was a different person even when I was on this stage, in front of my biggest audience yet, sharing my story, than I am now.
But a few things remains true…
1) life is worth living even when you feel hopeless & helpless, your purpose is boundless
2) if you have a persistent problem that is interfering with your life, get help
3) embracing impermanence allows for more growth