When I started exercising years ago, one would say it was for vanity. I mean I simply wanted beautiful biceps like Angela Bassett. I bought a set of 10lb dumbbells and I would perform bicep curls every day until I got those nice, sexy, chiselled arms that resembled hers.
Later on, working out for me was more than something I did simply for vanity, it was something I did because I enjoyed it. A conventional gym was the place to train for me. Just being around others lifting and sweating, the energy I got was unexplainable. I loved the gym, my time there and the people I met and interacted with. I enjoyed the adrenaline rush I received from pushing my own body weight during push ups, from pulling myself up during pull ups and for squatting twice my own body weight. If I had a rough day, the catalyst that got me through was a good sweat session.
Well, that was until a few months ago when I realized something had shifted within. See, for the last year, most of my workouts have been conducted at home, where I created an at home gym. I enjoyed working out at home because of the convenience it provided.
A few months ago, I noticed I was no longer enjoying my workouts. It seemed as if I had to bribe myself into completing my workouts. I would complete them, but not with much enthusiasm, excitement or joy. They started to feel like a chore more than anything else.
I thought, “Ok, it’s because I’ve been spending too much time by myself and I need to interact with others”. I decided to join a local gym again. I joined a gym and for the first 2 sessions at the gym I enjoyed the training, then I noticed I was making excuses on reasons not to attend. The same tactics I used on my clients as to why they should workout I used on myself ,“You’ll feel better afterwards”. “It’ll give you more energy to complete your daily tasks”, etc.
I would drag my behind into the gym and workout, however, I still wasn’t enjoying my workout. The last workout out I completed took me almost 2 hours to complete and the entire time I wanted to simply walk out. I only remained because I drove 15 minutes to get there and kept wishing I would eventually “get in the mood” and feel better, but sadly that didn’t happen.
I drove home, took a shower and went into bed (I honestly don’t even remember having something to eat or drink). A few days later, a friend of mine asked If I was going to the gym as she wanted to accompany me, I told her I was unsure when that would be. Of course, she was surprised and asked if everything was ok with me?
A few months ago, I noticed I haven’t been feeling like myself. I was having more “off days’ aka don’t want to get out of bed to do nothing kinds of days. I started tracking them and that’s when I realized that in one month I had approximately 10 off days. I also noticed things I enjoyed like listening to podcasts, reading, exercising or being around my friends, I no longer enjoyed those activities. I just wanted to be home, alone, in the dark.
I finally disclosed this to a few of my closest friends and they urged me to visit my doctor. I scheduled an appointment, we did some tests and I was diagnosed with suffering from anxiety and depression and was prescribed medication.
Prior to my doctor prescribing the medication, we discussed that this would be a band aid solution until I was assigned a psychiatrist to discuss the root cause. The prescription has made me a bit nauseous and light headed, along with extremely tired and sleepy. As a result, I didn’t work out for 2 weeks.
After a 2 weeks hiatus I completed a workout at home that I shared on my IG page .
I’m still not back to feeling 100% to working out, but I certainly felt great about getting up and moving again.
Sometimes, we have to take a step back from the things we love to focus on our mental health and re-evaluate our values and what’s going on with us.
My reason for sharing this with you is to educate you. Who knows, maybe you have felt this way in the past or currently and you’re unsure how to handle it. There’s no shame in asking for help or treatment.
Remember, mental health is just as important as your physical health, so make sure you’re taking care of it. I’ll definitely keep you posted on my updates.