While this post will have some fitness related content, it IS going to be personal, so if you’re not into that kind of thing check back soon.
Have you ever felt paralyzed? Not a true state of paralysis, but enough to where you’re not sure how or when to move?
Welcome to depression/anxiety.
Welcome to a glimpse into MY life.
I have nothing in the world to be upset about. I have a smoking hot wife and the two cutest kids this side of heaven waiting on me to get home every night.
So, what’s the problem?
Well, I don’t know. To me, that’s the most frustrating part about dealing with this. Feeling anxious about everything. Worried about the minutia of life. Not being sure what I’m sad about, just knowing I’m damn sure sad about something.
Sometimes, the anxiety can be so extreme that I feel like I could physically touch it. It’s hard to explain and you probably won’t understand if you’ve never dealt with anxiety (If you haven’t I envy you, seriously). It can be and is, debilitating at times.
You see, growing up I had a mean case of social anxiety. You wouldn’t catch me at a party, rarely see me at a sporting event (unless I was, you know, on the bench) and you sure as heck wouldn’t catch me doing anything that resembles public speaking. If it wasn’t happening at my house or a place I picked I was out. I may have told friends I was going to be there, but they knew I wouldn’t. Luckily they didn’t care and were friends with me anyway.
Don’t believe me? Buckle up, it’s story time.
“My senior year of high school I took speech in concurrent enrollment. A couple of weeks passed then it was time. I remember it like it was yesterday, in that moment I swear to you it was like time stood still.
It was my turn to go. So, I got up to give my first speech, and honestly, I was killing it.
But when it came time to wrap it up with the conclusion… I stood there stone faced, trying to remember where I wanted to go with it.
Nothing came to me.
Out of nowhere, unconsciously almost, I said “Well f*ck, I forgot my conclusion” not under my breath but out loud. Real loud and I think it may have even been in an accent Why? Idk. That’s not important.
Crickets… I think to myself “I didn’t say that out loud, did I?”.
The teacher had a look of horror on her face, the other students in the class didn’t know whether they should laugh or cry for me.
So naturally I walked to the back of the class, grabbed my things and went to the house.
I never went back and didn’t take speech again until my senior year at NSU – and it was online!”
I’ve since grown out of that, thank God. Getting over one mountain didn’t last very long, though, as I was looking at Everest not too long after. I had lost 3 grandparents in the span of 18 months. Two of which were some of the last family connections to my mom who passed away when we were in a car wreck together when I was only 14 months old.
I was broken.
And On top of it all, my hormones got depressed as well because they went to hell too! That could be an entire blog on its own so we will save that for another day. Shouts out to my endo Dr. Kipgen, tho! 🤜🤛
This leads me to one of the bigger points I want to make with this article: Mental Health is as important (or more so) than Physical Health.
It IS okay to ask for help. It IS okay to see a therapist. It IS okay to be on antidepressants.
Luckily, I did all three of those. I have no shame in saying that my therapist saved my life. I’m not saying I was teetering on the edge of suicide, but, had I not gotten help? I don’t know what would have happened, and I thank God every day that I didn’t find out.
The stigma surrounding therapy/antidepressants blows my mind. You’re telling me that there are people and medicine out there that can help someone in need but you’re judging them for even thinking about asking for it? Nah man.
I recently overheard a friend of mine talking about how therapy and antidepressants weren’t “Christian” and we should just pray about all our problems. Being a man of faith, of course I agree prayer is a piece of the puzzle.
But, the way I see it, God made the folks who are therapists and he made the folks who came up with antidepressants, too. So to hell with thinking like that. Nope, not today Satan.
Luckily I’ve always believed in getting help when you need it. But for someone who doesn’t have a support system? Someone who doesn’t have anyone in their corner telling them it’s OK to ask for help? It makes me want to cry.
If you don’t have people in your corner, get new people. If you don’t know where to look – hit me up. Not talking to someone – anyone – and keeping it all in compounds the problem and puts you on the brink of exploding. Trust me, I know.
Why do you think I’m writing this article? I’ve been in one those ruts again lately and just taking some time to put how I feel into a blog post has helped more than I ever thought it would.
The second point I’d like to make is this: Yes, exercise helps stress and can help anxiety. BUT…
Someone who is depressed or anxious doesn’t need you telling them to “just go workout”. Instead, ask how they’re doing, maybe guide the conversation to a point where working out is their idea rather than you telling them to do it.
Remember that paralysis I was telling you about? Of course, in a perfect world we’d all workout when we are feeling down. Hell, I train people for a living and I struggle to make myself exercise when I’m in a rut, so yeah, save the “just exercise” talk. I know most are not being insensitive, but when someone tells me to do something and I legit don’t feel like I can move or have the energy to do it, the stress just compounds. I know for a fact it doesn’t help me and in some (or most cases) it makes how I’m feeling worse.
While I do believe that exercise is the most under prescribed antidepressant and that medicine should not be used as a crutch, I also know that sometimes it takes medicine or a therapist to get in a state of mind where exercise is an option to you. It’s how I was, and I know I’m not alone in feeling that way.
Why am I, a trainer, writing this?
Because I want you to know that I struggle with life too, and honestly it feels good to get this off my chest and out of my head anyway. I don’t want you to know so you pity me or feel sorry for me, but rather to be transparent with you. With social media, blogs and all the outlets on the internet it’s so easy to put only the good things out there. To make it look like you have everything together and I need you to know that’s not true.
Without my faith, my wife or being at peace with asking for help I just don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing. Hillary knows me better than I know myself. She knows that I have slumps and she understands that it has nothing to do with her, so she’s not putting pressure on me to “tell her what’s wrong” all the time (thanks babe).
I’ve been fortunate enough to find my niche in coaching. For whatever reason my RBF (resting bitch face) and borderline introverted personality go away when I’m in a session. It’s wild to me and that could be a case study in itself but alas. I’ve worked with hundreds of athletes and clients in person and have touched thousands with my online content – unless a lot of those hits were my wife… wait, whatever, let me have my moment. – What I’ve found over the years is that those who have someone to talk to, someone to vent to, someone who won’t judge them no matter what they say, tend to perform better and last longer with lifestyle changing programs.
Find someone who is undoubtedly in your corner. Find someone you can open up to, it may be someone unexpected but you’ll never know until you put yourself out there even a little bit.
Here’s the thing, though, you may be saying that your nervous to ask for help or put yourself out there but I look at it like this: if they’re not willing to help you in your dark times, they don’t belong anywhere close to your inner circle anyway and damn sure don’t deserve you when times are good.
Stay strong. You’re not alone and you don’t have to be.