Depression is a bitch
For three years after the birth of my son depression gripped me.
Rather than feeling joyful, capable and positive about the future, I felt crushed by self-doubt and helplessness, feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a mother and having lost the sense of who I was before.
I yearned for the great natural highs and physical confidence I had experienced prior to childbirth through regular exercise and realised that somehow I had to build that back into my life.
So I started to swim. Most days at 6.30am my alarm would go off and I would drag myself (not without some guilt) away from my young child, to the pool. After a leisurely few lengths and a bit of time to myself I started to feel better. One morning I was approached by a man who asked me “Why do you always do breast stroke? You’re clearly a strong swimmer?”
I admitted I found the idea of learning something new in front of a pool full of onlookers rather intimidating, so had never ventured out of my comfort zone. Elegantly gliding down the pool like an otter was a goal I could only dream of achieving. It transpired that this man was an ex swimming coach and over the next weeks and months he took me under his wing and helped me discover new strengths, to push myself in ways I’d not experienced before, and finally crack front crawl at the age of 40.
Swimming became my release and I was thoroughly addicted. Anxiety, stress and exhaustion just melted away in the rhythm of breath and movement. Three times became five times a week and after several months of tweaking my technique I was able to smash out the lengths with some degree of ‘Otter–like’ style.
It changed everything – not only my physique. My new-found confidence triggered a chain of events. I was determined to find out what else I was capable of and discover my potential.
I began attending Pilates classes again, and tried completely new things like spinning which I loved for the use of music not only for setting pace but as hands–down the best motivational tool for a workout.
I wanted to make better dietary choices, to give my body the tools it needed to perform and recover more quickly.
With each new challenge my mental strength increased and with it my sense of identity and self-belief; I began to respect my body, not only for the amazing ability to bear and nurture a child but also for being able to adapt and evolve with everything I threw at it.
At this point I was so blown away by the powerful connection between mental and physical health, I felt compelled to use my experience to help others, particularly women to encourage them to love and respect their bodies and feel empowered by strength and fitness as I do.
Building strength is no longer solely the domain of men and the women I work with gain great satisfaction from the feeling and confidence that muscular fitness provides, along with the kickass curves!
I love being a personal trainer and offering that guiding hand to others that I was so lucky to be offered at the pool, to join them on their journey to better mental and physical health, unlock their potential and be their own hero.