Part 3: Mental Health Matters
The next few months were a whirlwind. I began experiencing migraines, losing weight, and spiraling out of control with my mental health. While I tried to distract myself with work, I simply began to spiral faster and faster into a constant state of anger and depression. It was then that I decided to try to attend counseling. While I was hoping for a life changing experience with my counselor, instead I was met with an indifferent person that told me to simply, “give it some time.” I tried to be patient, but as my mental health began getting worse, I dreaded going to work every day, I hated my body, and I felt like my life was bleak and miserable because I would never get the life I had before the stroke back.
I decided that I would try to start exercising again. I made a deal with myself that I would work out for 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week. In that hour and a half a week, I began to slowly feel the darkness of my depression and situation lift. I had more energy and started to look forward to the days ahead of me. It was then that I decided to start prepping for the upcoming archery season. As hard as I tried, I simply couldn’t muster up enough upper body strength to hunt Whitetail with my bow. I began to feel those ugly feelings rear their heads again, and I began to feel inadequate and like a failure for not having the physical ability to do something that I loved so much.
I finally decided to talk to my doctor about how I was feeling, and I was prescribed with anti anxiety medication and started sticking with a strict exercise routine. I altered my diet and noticed physical changes in my body that started allowing me to fight fires more efficiently than I had before and start working harder at my job. In turn, my mental health began to improve and I started gaining weight again in the form of muscle. I had never believed that exercise and mental health could play such an important part in someone’s life, but I was now living proof that it did. Was the key to getting my life back really as simple as changing my mindset and exercising?
-Julie Edwards Follow her on Instagram @julie.edwards99