Depression is a horrible illness, it can also be kept secret from even your nearest and dearest. I suffered from depression for quite a few years in my late 20’s and early 30’s. It was a very dark period of my life, and there was definitely no light to be seen at the end of that long tunnel for a longtime. Exercise wasn’t even an option, I didn’t want to do anything for the first few months or even years. I hadn’t met my husband, so no children, my job wasn’t what I had envisaged doing as I’d trained to be a Watersports Instructor but then typical story of boy meets girl, plans change and then it all goes horribly wrong. So I’d moved to a place away from my family, was living on my own and the depression crept into my life very gradually. There were weekends where I’d leave work on a Friday and not see anyone until Monday.
The depression clouded everything in my life, the days dragged as my sleep was terribly affected. It was effecting everything and my thoughts were becoming very dark. So I decided to take the huge step to get help and this was the turning point, I was given some anti-depressants and counselling this helped immensely then I was persuaded to join the local gym. I started going 3 times a week and it did help to lift my mood. My life seemed to start looking brighter, I left my job and met my lovely husband. Exercise hadn’t become a habit yet but it had started to move that black cloud that had hovered above me for a couple of years.
So over the next few years I still hadn’t found ‘the habit’, I’d become happier, although those dark days were still lingering in the background on sometimes. From my mid-30s to late 30s my life was marriage with my lovely husband, 3 pregnancies and really just running around after the family. Wine O’clock featured heavily in my daily routine and there were days when my mood was low. I went through 2 miscarriages when trying for our 3rd and with my depression still bubbling around in the background postnatal depression was always a worry for me. Luckily the postnatal depression never came and after welcoming our last child I decided enough is enough. Of course I wanted to lose the baby weight but really the most important reason for starting my fitness journey was to cope with the stresses of being a new mum. I felt much calmer after an hour of working out, I was a nicer person and I could feel what an hugely important difference it was making to my mental health as well as my physical appearance.
My depression brought out lots of demons that took a lot of strength to battle over the years but when I look back on that part of my life I see how strong I was to make that change, the first visit to the Dr on my own, my first date with my husband, my 3 pregnancies and finally making that habit a strong one that even the blackest of moods can’t overcome. I am a prime example of how fitness and making that first step can turn your life around, whether its indoor rowing, a skierg session or a strength routine I know that the most important outcome for me will be that I feel less stressed, much calmer and happier afterwards. Exercise can lift even the darkest of moods, make you feel good about yourself and make those positive thoughts become a more regular occurrence when life throws a curveball at you.
Make that first step today to start up the habit, not only will it strengthen you physically but more importantly your mental health and well-being will be improved helping you deal with the stresses of normal daily life that can sometimes become hard to handle if there isn’t an outlet for you.