11 Feb The G-Force Source: Combat Depression With CrossFit
“Life is not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving.” — Rocky Balboa
The reality of our modern day social-centric society is that it’s full of insecurities created by unrealistic social standards. Therein begins the slippery slide to mental health problems which plague our planet, affecting people of all ages and from all walks of life. Combating these problems consists of many methods which most likely include lots of money falling into the pockets of people with too many lettered titles to their names. There is, however, another potential solution to these problems which doesn’t include spending our entire life savings and no need for scheduling appointments. It is far more basic and in the end, far more complimentary your overall health: CrossFit.
I’m not going to preach that CrossFit is your one-stop solution to everything, not by a long shot, but there are many aspects of CrossFit’s methodologies and ideologies that can help combat your mental health. The most predominant ideology is the overwhelming sense of community that CrossFit shares. I can’t speak for all the CrossFit boxes out there, but at G-Force, community and camaraderie are our core ideals that we pride ourselves on and within that community is a great support network for any individual who may be suffering from loneliness-induced mental health problems. Combine that support network with the methodologies of CrossFit which are designed to make you fitter, stronger, faster and more powerful which in turn will make you more confident in yourself, I think we’ve found ourselves a great formula for helping defeat mental health problems.
For today’s edition of The G-Force Source–our CrossFit blog–we’d like to share a story of a fellow CrossFitter from G-Force who used fitness to combat depression and anxiety. Sarah has been kind enough to share aspects of her life with us and we’re grateful. We’re also proud that she’s mustered up the confidence to be able to tell this story and essentially, share it with the world.
G-Force: What do you do for work and how young are you?
Sarah: I am a 19 year old childcare worker working with 2-3 year olds every day, as well as doing some casual weekend work in the kitchen and bar at Bass and Flinder’s Cruisers.
Where did you grow up?
I have grown up in the Sutherland Shire and am currently still living here.
You have dealt with mental health issues. Can you tell us a little bit more about these and how they have effected your life?
Being straight forward, I have suffered from anxiety and depression for five years under the umbrella of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it has been an emotional, stressful and tiring five years. Depression was a horrible thing to experience. I never wanted to get up in the morning let alone leave my house. I could try explain it but it was just not a very nice experience to go through. It changed my perceptions of myself majorly to the point I would sit up all night exercising because I had to be “perfect” where I would be so so careful with what I ate. I think that it changes you as a person and that I was not the person I am today. Anxiety has been a whole different thing in itself. Everything that I thought of always had a “what if” consequence, my mind over exaggerated literally everything; simple tasks such as catching public transport. The hardest part about suffering with mental health problems is accepting it and actually being able to talk about it, breaking the stigma behind it and finding something that can be your outlet that doesn’t have negative impacts on yourself.
Do you have any advice for other young women who are going through these problems?
Both women and men that may be suffering from mental health problems, my advice to you is that it is okay to not be okay. It took me three years to realise this and not be ashamed that I have got mental health problems, but I also found that you have to talk about it; you cannot keep it inside or it will build up and eventually explode, like when you overfill a bin, there’s only so much you can put in a bin. I guess you could say I shopped around for a psychologist that I have now been seeing for two years and it is amazing to be able to talk to someone. The advice that she told me is that you need to learn to ride the wave of mental health, the bottom being depression and the top being anxiety, just being able to focus on riding in the middle and even if you slip off the wave every now and again, you just have to get back up and try again.
What would you suggest for those who have loved ones or know people suffering with mental health issues?
Do not treat them differently. I was bubble wrapped throughout my senior years of high school and it makes you feel like you’re different and an outcast compared to everyone else. Little things like asking how they are once in a while and just being someone that they can talk to if they need it. Not telling them to get over it and it will get better because in their mind they don’t see that. Just treating those as you would want to be treated and being considerate, understanding that sometimes they can’t justify their thoughts even though for you it may seem silly for them to think that way.
How long have you been at G-Force and what made you start CrossFit?
I have been at G-force for almost a year now and I wanted to challenge myself to get stronger and prove to myself that I can do things I didn’t think I could.
How has G-Force helped you in your journey?
G-Force has helped me in so many ways. My social anxiety is basically non-existent anymore. I used to dread going out in case someone tried to talk to me and I would panic about what I had to say where as at G-force, everyone is so friendly and encouraging and just makes you believe you can do anything. Physically and mentally I am such a stronger person, it’s such a mentally challenging sport that really pushes you and I have done things that I had never thought I could ever do. I’ve gained muscle and feel strong in myself, feeling like I can do anything if I put my mind to it. After a workout I just feel accomplished and genuinely happy (even though I’m dripping in sweat) that I did it, that I pushed myself that one extra rep. G-Force is such an uplifting and positive community of people to be around that have helped me so much in my mental health journey to becoming a happier and healthier person.
A message to anyone struggling with their mental health: what you’re feeling is real and it needs to be addressed. Use your friends, families, your CrossFit boxes, workplaces and medical professionals to help overcome whatever you’re going through. Togetherness beats loneliness.