Not exactly the face you’d think of when you hear the word depression would you?
Today’s article is going to be extremely hard for me to write because it’s going to be a topic I’ve been trying to cover up for the last 4 months.
I talk a lot about health and fitness and have been a trainer for the last 5 years I’ve been living and breathing it day in and day out. That was until 4 months ago when something shifted inside of me and I fell off the wagon (actually I pretty much broke the wagon). In November after my trip to San Diego, I came back home with a sense of emptiness inside of me.
For the last 5 years since moving to Sydney, I had been focused on my personal training business. I didn’t socialise much on the weekend, I didn’t do anything fun or exciting and I basically would be training clients, working on the business and sleeping.
Little did I know that this constant focus on work and neglecting socialising, relationship building and having experiences lead me down the path of depression (although I didn’t know it was depression at the time).
I realised that apart from the training business I had built up, I really had nothing else. No close friends or social circles, nothing exciting happening in my life and I just felt like an empty shell.
I began to lose motivation, I stopped caring about my diet and my fitness business started to decline.
Using Food For Comfort
I began to turn to food for comfort. It soothed the pain because when you eat food it releases endorphins. Because I had this constant feeling of emptiness inside of me and wanted to escape that feeling I would eat and eat and eat and I developed a binge eating problem. I had this uncontrollable urge to eat everything in sight and would eat roughly 6 – 8000 calories a day.
The worst thing was as hard as I tried, I couldn’t stop myself. I would tell myself i’m not going to eat anymore. 30 – 60 minutes later I’d be scavenging the pantry and fridge to see what else I could eat. I wasn’t even hungry but I just couldn’t stop myself!
Every night lying in bed I’d be feeling guilty, hating myself and wondering what the fuck was wrong with me. Why can’t I just stop?
The next day I would wake up with a positive mindset and tell myself that today’s the day I get back on track and then a few hours or sometimes even 10 minutes later I’d be scoffing down ice cream, doughnuts, a jar of peanut butter and anything else I could get my hands on.
I’d be eating from the moment I woke up until the moment I’d go to sleep.
I was getting out of control and I couldn’t stop myself. I was getting so scared that I wouldn’t stop and I’d end up putting on too much weight that I’d have to quit my job because no one would listen to a fat trainer who didn’t practice what he preached and I’d have to get a “normal job”.
Thinking about having to quit something I love would lead to anxiety and that fuelled the eating even more. This turned into a viscious circle of eating, getting stressed about eating and then eating again because I was stressed.
It didn’t take long for me to start putting on a lot of weight and as of writing this, I had put on 16kg (40 pounds) in just a few months. I felt like a fraud, a phony and I would say you don’t deserve to be a fucking trainer.
It wasn’t until months of fighting this that I realised I’d lost control and I needed help. I couldn’t keep fighting this uphill battle and lose every day. It was ruining my self esteem, I didn’t trust myself anymore and I knew if I didn’t get help soon I knew I’d just go on a downhill spiral that i’ve never be able to get out of.
I knew this was a big problem and I reached out to a psychologist to help me figure out what was going inside my head. That’s when I discovered I had depression. It was funny when she first mentioned it because I looked at her like she was crazy.
Me, Depressed? HA! you must be joking.
I don’t want to kill myself, I don’t wake up and see everything as grey and gloomy and I don’t hate everything.
It turns out that’s not what depression is.
It’s not wanting to kill yourself every day (although some people may have that feeling) and it’s not hating everything in life all the time.
The way I described my life clearly showed that I did have depression. After seeing her for a few sessions she brought up friendships and started to dig a little deeper that’s when my guard came down. For the first time in years, I started to cry. It was the most embarrassing thing for me to do because I’m someone who doesn’t like to show emotions like sadness, crying or embarrassment. I’m the guy who everyone knows as happy as positive and I like it like that.
After discussing how I had socially isolated myself and didn’t have many close friends in my life I made some action steps to change that. Since February I have been a lot more focused on relationships and interestingly enough I have stopped binge eating.
I am still trying to get used to the depression because now that I’m aware it’s interesting to observe it. It’s like I am putting on different glasses and seeing the world through different lenses day by day. Some days I wake up and feel great and some days it’s a struggle to get out of bed and to do anything and the day just seems extremely bleak.
The Path Of Redemption
I wanted to share this with you because I don’t want to keep skeletons in the closet. I don’t want to pretend like I’ve got my shit together because at the moment I most certainly don’t. I’m also making my comeback and I am keeping myself accountable to you. Since I feel like I’ve got a hold of this eating problem I’m ready to get back on track with losing weight, I am documenting my journey on Instagram which you can follow here to.
Remember, no matter how hard times get, how down you may be, how it may feel like you’ve got the world against you and you’re pushing shit uphill that you should never give up.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel, there is always a way out and you can always push through and come out the other side. If you are struggling, reach out. Talk to someone, see a professional and get the help you need. Don’t go through the battle alone.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.