This is a guest post by personal trainer, Mitchell Robinson. He speaks of his thoughts of suicide and his journey to recovery through exercise. You can follow his journey on Instagram, @1MitchellFitness.

”What do you have to be sad about?” – A question I would ask myself every day. It felt like from the alarm clock going off in the morning to my eyes closing at night, that I was fighting an internal battle. A smile or laughter would mask the pain on the inside. No one would ever think I was someone who could barely look in the mirror most days. I just deemed myself as weak, with low self-esteem and as just generally sad or broken. I found myself feeling alone in groups of people; and I just couldn’t shake it…

I had to make a change.

I didn’t know how, but what I did know was I couldn’t physically stay in this dark place any longer.

Should I of reach out for help? How? I didn’t even know what or how I was feeling, let alone tell someone else about it. I felt embarrassed and weak. I went to the doctors and they didn’t help much. It made me feel even more alone.

The first step I took was acceptance. I accepted I wasn’t OK.

A big trigger for me was getting injured playing football to the point I couldn’t play anymore. I spent four years in America playing and chasing my dream. I had a chance to play in Italy but suddenly, due to injuries, I was back home in England unable to play and working a job that wasn’t my passion. It was heart-breaking.

Don’t get me wrong, even while playing football I had this internal battle; I’ve had it since I was around 14 but not being able to play football anymore really added onto my internal battle and, if I’m being completely transparent, it pushed me to the edge. I felt like it’d be better if I wasn’t here.

I didn’t enjoy the gym in any way. Truth be told, even when I was playing football, the gym was such a chore. I just wanted to play football, not work out. So, when I decided to join a gym I was thinking to myself, “what a stupid decision you’re just going to waste your money.” Yet again, another internal battle.

One night I said to myself: “at six am, I am going wake up and start my day with the gym.” Six am came, I didn’t get up. I couldn’t. I felt so depressed in the mornings, when the alarm would go off, reality would hit and I couldn’t think of anything worse than facing the day. Weeks passed, and I still hadn’t been to the gym at six am.

Then one day my life completely changed. I felt very suicidal at home, so I decided I was going to take myself to the gym and instead of fighting this internal battle in my room, I was going to get a good gym playlist together and work out. I arrived at the gym, with gym anxiety as usual. Not wanting to be there. Fighting in my head more than usual.

On arrival, I regretted my decision instantly, but I forced myself to stay. I decided to go to the free weights area and just do some basic stuff. One hour passed and I was finishing up my session but it felt different; I felt good. I felt happy. My favourite songs were playing through my earphones, I was in my own world focusing on counting sets and reps, instead of telling myself how much I hate myself. Every set I felt more and more accomplished. It felt surreal. I left the gym happy. I went in debating my life, and left with a smile on my face. A real one.

The next day I woke up at 6am, sad again, but this time I said to myself, “think of how you felt yesterday, get up and get to the gym.”  That took a lot of strength and will power.

Sometimes I look back and wonder how I got up when I was in such a dark place, but I did it, I got to the gym and worked out. Again, after it, I felt really good.

As the weeks went by, I was in a much better place. Of course I still had bad days – I do to this day – but looking in the mirror became bearable as I was seeing results from the gym. My state of mind was improving. I was being more cautious of what I was eating. On days where I didn’t have time for the gym, I was doing home workouts.

You see that’s the thing, there is a workout for any time and any place. That’s what makes fitness so good – how accessible it is.

Without going into too much detail about my back story I just wanted to share how fitness saved me. How working out can help. I am now a personal trainer with a mental health focus; meaning I am available for my clients 24/7 if they ever need to talk. I don’t just set goals for physical health but for mental health too, as I know just how important it is.

That’s why I wrote this blog and why I made my fitness Instagram page (@1mitchellfitness) – to give out free workouts and to talk about different topics to help others. I want to leave you guys with some tips to try and see if fitness can save you, the same way it saved me.

Tips:

  • Create a routine or plan, so that when you are exercising you can feel a sense of accomplishment for every workout or set you finish.
  • Make a playlist of songs you love. It’ll really help with the feel good factor!
  • Understand it’s a process and some days will be better than others.
  • Make healthier choices food wise. You’ll see massive mood and health improvements.
  • Understand everyone at some point has gym anxiety. It will ease in time, as uncomfortable as it feels at first, you got this.
  • Have fun!

I hope this helps. Please remember it’s okay not to be okay. You are never alone. And just know that PAPYRUS is here to help.

***DISCLAIMER***

Please only take part in exercise if you’re fit and healthy and cleared by a doctor.

 

If you’re 35 and under and struggling with thoughts of suicide, or you’re worried for someone who is, HOPELINEUK is here for you. Call 0800 068 4141, text 07860039967, or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

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