I thought I would kick off this blog by explaining why I’m even blogging in the first place. Some of you may be thinking, “Oh, she’s a blogger now.” (Insert eye roll here). “Isn’t every 20 something year old basic white girl a blogger now?” And the truth is, yes there are a lot of bloggers out there – but my hope is that mine will eventually have it’s own uniqueness. My hope is that I can create a safe space where we can talk about mental health, fitness, self acceptance – and so many things in between. I want to talk about the difficult things, the not so often talked about things – the things that people want to talk about, but are too afraid to say out loud.
But, let’s start from the very beginning. In 2012 I was away at university finishing up the second year of my program. This is the same year I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety. I had known that something was awry for quite some time, but I was too afraid to speak up about it. With the help of my mom, a nurse of now almost 40 years, I went to see a doctor and was put on an antidepressant. For a while it worked great, until it didn’t. Fast forward to 2013. My depression had become so severe that I was suicidal. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live. If you’ve never experienced depression before, that’s a pretty accurate description of the illness. I had decided that I was going to end it all. I called my mom. (If you can’t already tell, my mom is a life saver. I mean that quite literally.) I told her how I was feeling and she said, “Steph, I’m going to transfer you money. Get on the next bus and come home. Please, just get on the bus and get home.” I got on the bus. And because of that phone call, I’m still here.
So, why blog? Because I want to talk about mental health. I want to hopefully combat some of the stigma surrounding mental illness. I want people to know that not only is it okay to talk about, it’s necessary to talk about. I want people to know that they are not alone. That there are many of us struggling with mental illness, and we don’t have to suffer in silence. I want to share my story to remind those struggling that things get better – that you can get better.
So, there’s a brief synopsis about why I want to discuss mental health, but you might be wondering how fitness plays into any of this. Fair question. In 2014, after going on an antidepressant that caused me to gain A LOT of weight, I was depressed, overweight, and physically the least healthy that I had ever been. I neglected my body, lived almost exclusively on junk food, and hadn’t seen the inside of a gym in years. On a whim, and truthfully out of absolute desperation, I purchased Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide online. It wasn’t until 2015 that I had finally had enough and decided to start the program. Now, nearly 2 years later, I’m down 65 pounds, 23 inches, and though I’ll likely never have abs, I’m in the best shape that I have ever been in.
So, why blog? Because I want to talk about how exercise transformed my mental and physical health, and how it can transform yours too. I’m not a personal trainer, so I’m not here to tell you how heavy you should be lifting or how many reps you should be doing. But, having transformed my own body with a healthy diet and exercise, I want to talk about health and fitness in an open and non-judgemental way. I want women, especially young women, to know that you don’t need to starve yourself or overexercise in order to change your body. You’ll get so much further with balance. (And self love, but I’ll talk about that in another post.)
So, why blog? Why not just get a diary, or continue to post exclusively on Instagram? Because I love to write. Growing up I never had any “obvious” talents. I wasn’t an athlete, I couldn’t sing or dance, I never had that one thing that you would define as your talent. But, I could always write. I took English Literature and Language at university, and to my surprise (and disappointment) the program, devoted to reading and writing, really extinguished my love of writing. Being told what to write, when to write, and how to write really took the passion and emotion out of it. I have always loved to just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. And so, my hope is that this blog will help me to restore my love for writing.
The truth is I have no idea how this will turn out. It could be a resounding success or my mom may be the only person that subscribes to my blog posts. But, one thing is for certain: I won’t know unless I try.
So, if you’ve read to the very end of this post – thank you, and welcome to my blog. (I promise that every post won’t be this long.)
Cheers to a new venture!