Working Out Depression

If you guys follow me on IG (@WaniWrites), you’ll know that I’ve been battling depression head on the last few months, but perhaps you didn’t know that it’s something that I was diagnosed with about 8 years ago.

A bad break-up early this year utterly shattered me and I’ve been struggling to find myself all over again since then. It’s also during this period that I’ve gone into full swing with my workouts, combining at-home HIIT routines with long nature trails and gym classes and free weights. Safe to say, physically, this is the fittest I’ve been in my adult life. But this is also the most I’ve had to deal with emotionally and mentally in a very, very long time.

Couple that with a change in career, from a full-time job to a freelance one, financially, I’m still trying to get on my feet, so that is an additional constant worry. But that one, singular, regular thing that has kept me grounded is working out. I’ve been called out on social media for being fat and shameless about posting about my body, and been accused to my face of working out so much because I’m insecure and that my depression makes me a crazy person.

I’m not going to lie and say all those comments didn’t hurt me, and that I didn’t for a second think that, maybe, they’re right and have allowed myself to shed a few tears when I read/heard them. They fucking HURT. Especially when you know, deep down, you’re exercising to keep sane, and vanity is honestly the least of your priorities.

That didn’t keep me from working out constantly though; I picked myself up and put in 110% in every single workout I did and still do. I know that if I want to have any chance at getting better and being a better person, for now, I have to be selfish. I have to put myself at the very top of the VIP list. I have sacrificed numerous social invitations because I just didn’t feel like it or decided to work out instead or have a quiet evening in. And although I know I cannot keep isolating myself in the long run, for now, I know this is what I need to feel safe and comfortable.

Because of the negativity I’ve received regarding my depression, I don’t share my experience with people very much – whether with my personal circle or with you guys. I admittedly still harbour the mindset that I’m burdening others or simply whining when I talk to someone about how I’m feeling, so I reserve my thoughts for when I attend therapy. I know it’s better to talk to someone about it, but I just don’t feel like I’ve reached that point where I feel safe enough to be candidly open about what I’m going through.

But what I do know is that working out has literally saved me from myself. It has given me the drive I desperately needed to keep going, to get through every single day and to be able to tell myself I’m doing well and I WILL get better. There will be days or weeks when I’ll feel like there’s a constant grey cloud weighing heavy on my head, but I have to keep fighting.

I’ll share with you a little something that my therapist asked me the last session, which scared me but also provided me with a little reality check. She asked, “And what if you never get better? What will you do then?” (This was in response to me telling her how I will keep pushing through every emotional wall to get to where I want to be).

I didn’t know how to respond, to be honest, and I really was internally questioning myself, ‘what if I really DON’T get better?’. But then I just replied, “Then I will just keep going, even if it’s something I have to do for the rest of my life. No one will fight this for me, and at the end of the day, I might not have any one by my side cheering me on. But for myself, I have to do this.”

And that is the promise I’ve made to myself. When everyone may have seemed to have given up on me, or have no interest in supporting me, I will be my own cheerleader. I will be the friend that I’ve so desperately needed, and I will love myself enough to know that I cannot and will not give up on me.

So, after this long rambling post, I just want to let anyone out there who’s going through the same (or similar) experience, the most important person is you. Yes, you are definitely not alone because I’m sure I’m being a cynic and psyching myself out. But at the end of the day, the person who cannot give up the most is you – that’s what I’m trying to say. Do what you need to do to get through the darker days and take relief in the brighter ones, but don’t stop. Don’t ever stop. Every fight will be damn worth it.

Wani xoxo