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I've struggled with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember, but I hit rock bottom in May 2011. I was a lonely graduate student with no direction in my life, and I identified myself with the labels doctors had given me:panic disorder, social anxiety and clinical depression. I was living in a new city, struggling to make friendships and spiraling further and further down a never ending rabbit hole of darkness. I wanted to be happy, but I couldn't. Panic attacks ruled over me, a dark cloud consumed my life and I was in constant pain. Seconds felt like minutes, minutes felt like hours, hours felt like years, and I believed that the only solution was to end my life.
I walked home from work that day knowing I was going to try to kill myself. As I was walking home, I saw a friend. He said hello, but he didn't have time to talk. I made it home and grabbed a bottle of pills from my cabinet, then I took them to a park and hid behind a bush. Curled up in a ball, sitting in the dirt with a bottle of pills in my hand, I wondered what I had become. I started taking the pills two at a time until the bottle was almost empty. After awhile, I considered calling for help, but I knew I couldn't go back without facing disappointment from my friends and family, serious consequences and an embarrassing hospitalization. I could see it in my head. Being strapped to a hospital bed and labeled as a lunatic. I believed that this decision would ruin my life. If I went back and decided to keep living, my life would forever be defined by this mistake.
Somehow, somewhere, I found the strength to call for help. The police came first, and then the ambulance, the hospitalization, the therapy, the medication, the shame and then - unexpectedly - a ray of hope.
That ray of hope was fitness. Moving my body is what healed me. Long distance running, dancing, acrobatics, drumming workouts - I did it all and I slowly became stronger from the inside out. My body transformed. I was energized, happy and confident. My life became clear and I knew what I had to do. I had to share fitness and health with as many people as I could. Out of this darkness, I realized I was born to lift people up, give them hope on their darkest days, celebrate with them on their good days, and ultimately guide them to the healthy lifestyle they deserve.
I thought my life would never be the same after that day, and I was right. Because of that day, I found my passion, my gift and how to share it with you.
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