The Real Face of Depression

be-kind-2

I am a coach. I am a motivator. I am also depressed.

I know you’re probably wondering how someone can be a coach and motivator, yet be depressed. Yes, it seems like an oxymoron, but I’ve been this person for quite some time. I have wanted to write about my secret for a while, but was unsure as to how it would be perceived or if it would affect my job as a coach or my relationships with others. However, those that have known me for a while know that I’m not one to do things the “normal” way, so this is why I’m finally writing about it.

I’ve always held the philosophy of “be true to yourself” and to do things my own way, and to trust in myself that I will get what I need and where I need to go if I follow my own path. It doesn’t always work out, but most of the time it does. As a result of my philosophy, I won many state titles in gymnastics, I won a national piano competition at the age of 14, and I also earned many achievement awards at all of the schools I’ve attended. I’ve also had some pretty cool jobs, which I got without a college degree. Whenever I listen to my gut instinct, I succeed. When I allow others to dictate the process or influence me too much, I tend to fail – this is part of the reason how I got to where I am today.

inner peace
(I’m working on this.)

What I write in this post is not of the norm, especially for fitness coaches, because fitness coaches are supposed to be happy, uplifting people that know how to make others’ lives better. They’re supposed to have their shit together. Most people would and will freak out because of how open and personal I am and can be. But that is who I am, down to my very core. I am honest, raw, and sincere. I don’t sugar coat, and when I have to, I feel like a fraud.

I refuse to be mediocre; I strive for excellence. Unfortunately, this has been a bit difficult with this depressive cloud following me as of late. I’ve had to put on my “happy face” for so long that it’s worn me out. I’m exhausted, but I have to keep going.

 Physically I smile

A few months ago, a friend of mine talked about wanting to start a campaign called “The Real Face of Depression” to bring awareness to the world that depressed people aren’t just those in the corner crying and pulling their hair out like you see in most depictions, although sometimes we may feel that way. Depressed people are everyday people – they are your co-worker, they are your friend, your neighbor, and in my case, a fitness coach. We look happy on the outside, we have big smiles in our pictures that come up on Facebook, we are the new moms smiling and playing with precious little babies, we are top CrossFit athletes at The Games.

The majority of my depression stems from my experience with the gymnastics coach that I had between the ages of 10-16, the most important formative years of my life. He is a terrible person; he is a pedophile. He went to jail for the things he did, but he is now out. Before you jump to conclusions as to why my teammates and I didn’t leave, it wasn’t that easy. The charm he had and the ability to manipulate was impressive; no one was safe.

Throughout my life, I have gone through phases where I am able to deal with the trauma of the past (that of my gymnastics career, but also from the recent past), but there are also times where I am heavily affected by it. I am currently in one of those phases.

world had drained me

I feel heavy, I feel lost. I feel scared, I feel anxious. I am so fucking angry.

My body literally hurts because my soul is hurting.

There are days where I’m coaching and I have to fight so hard to hold the tears in, and all I want to do is to go home, hide under the covers, and cry.

There are days where I want to drop everything and leave without saying goodbye to anyone.

This shit sucks, but I have to keep going.

strong

What keeps me going are the people I coach, and the little girl that I mentor. For the short time that I’m with these people, I have a glimmer of hope and happiness. Yes, it is and can be difficult, but for those moments I don’t feel as heavy or lost or scared or anxious. I cannot and will not let my depression affect the lives of others.

This is my own battle. I have to keep going.

I am in a dark place, but I know I will get out. I know that I am mentally strong; I just lost it momentarily. I am receiving the help I need to find my way back, but it’s going to take some time. I am so beyond grateful to my friends and family and the support system they have created for me. Writing this and sharing my thoughts and feelings with others helps.

There are going to be those that judge me for expressing my feelings, and that is fine. There will always be naysayers and those that think they know how you should live your life. This is who I am and I am not ashamed of it.

This is my story. This is the real face of depression.

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6 responses to “The Real Face of Depression

  1. Thank you for sharing your struggle with depression. It’s an almost invisible burden and it manifests in ways that aren’t obvious. We all need to be aware of so we can learn how to spot the signs, and help our friends/family.

  2. You have no idea how much I needed to read this today. I am in almost the EXACT same boat… only it was basketball instead of gymnastics and saxophone instead of piano. Sexual abuse… and the need to be the best to prove to myself that I have value …. and the smile to make all the clients think I am a bucket of constant, motivating joy. Uncanny similarities. Thank you for sharing this! Know that you are helping others to know they are not alone! Thank you! Sending you love and great vibes!!!!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. I can relate so much. I am a Type A, outgoing, bubbly, community leader, and I feel I also struggle with phases of depression. I don’t know what else to call it. About two years ago, I was in a fog of depression for almost a year. It got better. I’m trying to remember what helped… because now I am sliding back into one and it feels like there’s nothing I can do. I’m very scared. Sharing helps though. What you’ve written helps. I am also a writer, so I will go share now, too.

  4. Great article. Coaches, therapists, comedians, doctors (etc) all have real lives who may similar experiences. We are human… We have breaking points, triggers… And it makes a ton of sense to me. Keep fighting your way through this. I am sorry somebody harmed you so badly. My out voice will carry. Google the word pruning in bible and as a metaphor… It’s God’s way to bringing fruitful growth for you. Good luck. Keep talking because it helps you and others.

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