The Black Dog.

Mental Health. A stigma in Australian society, because we were brought up to believe showing emotion or being deemed as vulnerable is somewhat what ‘weak.’ 

What ‘weak’ is, truthfully. Is not being ‘real.’

Real with your loved ones. Your acquainted, sometimes. But most of all ‘real’ with yourself.

Now, it’s my time to be brutally real with you. I feel extremely vulnerable sharing this with the world. But in the Hope of bringing  a hope to someone who is going through something, similarly. Here goes. You are not alone. 

Although I’ve been infamously known as the happy-go-lucky, always smiling optimistic girl. I’ve suffered bouts of clinical depression for many years of my life, and counting. But it hasn’t, not will it ever. Win. 

It stemmed from a childhood of having a pre-conceived notion of myself, of having to be ‘perfect.’ 

Perfectionism. Literally myself as my own worst enemy. Perfect in everything. From school work. To my career as an athlete and my sporting life. I even Tried to attain what I thought perfection was, in things I could never control, like physical looks

But To what? A materliatic image society has pre-convinced you to believe as sometime you must attain toward. To be successful in life? To be happy?

Ridiculous. 

Now that, is not real. It’s only even lead to feeling like I’ve let myself down. And then in turn my parents, My family or my friends. A feeling of defeat. Because I was trying to live up to the impossible. A standard so high, it didn’t even exist.

How do you tell that little girl, with the world at her feet that – she’s good enough. When she doesn’t believe she ever will be, Because her own mind is the enemy? 

It has its bouts. Sometimes I’m up and forget about it all together. And sometimes I’m down. And I forget about Hope all together.

 I have fought some demons. And continue to. Like we all do. Everyday. But, then when all is said and done. When my serotonin levels are stable. When the world is being kind to me. And I feel truly happy. I think, wow! Maybe I’ve beaten it once and for all, this time! 

That Dog, Comes back and bites again.

It only takes a small thing, like an injury. A family crisis. An episode of challenging self-doubt to make the Big Black Dog, resurface its destruction on my mind, once again. A battle between reality and perfection. Because scientifically my brain no longer produces enough serotonin levels in order keep my mood stable. 

But I have learned to know my limits. To know the warning signs. And then to be kind to myself

And breathe.

I have strategies. I take a self-care day. I go to the beach, which reminds me of home. I feel Safe there. Alone but not lonely. I get lost in the waves and enjoy the sun. And the sand between my toes. Getting lost in the beauty of creation. In the wilderness. On adventures that distance myself from civilisation. 

Or I listen to music and dance, freely. Expressing myself through the melody; unaware of my surrounding. Or Sometimes I just cry. Let the salt of my tears, wash away those bad feelings. Until I can’t cry anymore.

Sometimes I lift. Something heavy. Real heavy. Deadlifts, Preferably. But mostly I run. Around a track. As fast as my body will take me. With every ounce I my being, every muscle I can contract and every breath I have pumping through my lungs. 

But I am blessed. I am continually Reminded, I’m never alone  amongst this sadness. I have God. Who doesn’t want this for me and my life. And I am reminded to have faith in His plans for my future.

I have my family. Who are my biggest unconditional support. Through the highs and the lows. And The Journey. Alongside my partner. Who won’t let me be anything but real with him. And he pushes me, to push myself. To better myself. 

And I have my strength. That always pulls through. That’s unrelenting and stubborn. That will ultimately, help me win this battle. 

But I’ve learned I can only beat this, once and for all – by being real with myself. 100% down.

None of this hiding behind a mask, pretending it’s all okay. Smiling happily, unbewildered to those around me, I’m suffering in silence of a ‘crawl-in-a-ball’ crippling sadness. The kind that that comes back to bite me at the worst possible times of my life. 

It’s about breathing. Relying on myself for healing. Not anyone else. Not any doctors or medication, that I’ve been spoon-fed for years on end.

It’s going to take the deep, wild, unexplored depths of my soul. To fight this. And I really want to fight it. More than anything.

To no longer feel wanting-to-sleep-all-the-time ”tired for no reason.’ Sometimes bouts of emotions that can’t be held in at the most inconveniant times. Like during a university lecture. Or on the train ride home. Or a social event, where the pressure to be ‘perfect‘ and to impress. Becomes all too much. 

And Dog, ol’ pal. I’m done with you. Oh, I am done!

Life isn’t an instagram filter. Or happily airbrushed like it seems on social media. People go through things. Through pain, trials and tribulations, everyday. And that’s part of being tested. Building resilience. Making you grounded. Making you feel.  

But it’s important to also reach out to those who need a shoulder. Please be a listener. Someone next to you might be suffering and you don’t even know it! Create a safe space of sharing and support other humans. It is all too important in our destructive world. Let someone know it’s okay not to be fully okay. And to show the world that. 

One day, I will be free. Free from all of this, bullshit. I will fight this. Because I’m worth it. Because even when there feels like there’s no more hope left. Other people will always have a hope in me. And I have hope in you, too. 

 Never give up on yourself. Even when it seems like the world around you has. You are worth more, than you could ever imagine. 

And someone, somewhere. Is thinking of you. And values you. Without you even realising. 

You got this

The Cost of Ambition

The alarm goes off. Your day begins. It’s still dark outside. You think, ”do I really have to.” Inner you says ”Yes! Rise and grind, girl.”

I’m not a morning person. But it has to get done. Training. Work day. More training. It’s 8:30pm and you’re still in the gym on a Sunday evening, thinking ”What am I even doing here?” Inner you says ”Cause you’ve got work to do.”It’s a constant brain-battle, between your mind and body. 


You know you need to do those early mornings, those late nights. Those extra training sessions. The active recovery. The rehab. The gruelling sports massages and acupuncture sessions to stay uninjured. The Friday nights spent at the gym, instead of at the club with your mates.You need to Work multiple jobs: to sustain this life.

Because you’re not an average human. You’re a person who won’t settle for a mediocre life. You crave something more.Something extraordinary. And you’ll do everything it takes to get there.If you can resonate with this mind-play.

Maybe not resonate directly to lifestyle , as maybe your goal isn’t physical, like mine. Maybe you are studying to better your work life.

Maybe you are working your butt off, in a job you aren’t necessarily passionate about, to better your passions in life. To better someone else’s life that you are responsible for. Or simply to just get by. 

Whatever you’re doing.I encourage you to keep going. Never stop the grind. Every step you aim to better yourself, every step you are closer to those goals.Never settle less, than the life you expected of yourself.

It will all be worth it, oneday soon enough. You’ll know why you had to go through it all. Until then, trust the process. 

You got this

Optimism and the ability to control your mood

When nothing is going right, go left! 
When something goes wrong in your day. It’s incredibly easy to feel like you’ve lost sight of your goals, your regime or your week in general.
And it can be even easier to stress about it, wonder ”why me,” or curl up in a big ball of negativity. But it can also be just as easy to ”roll with it.”

It’s moments like these, where nothing has generally gone to plan. I have to ”breathe” and literally LOL at myself. And think: ”it’s not WHY is this happening.” It’s ”What can I do about it.”

You’re a beautiful ray of sunshine; with control of your life at your fingertips. Don’t let this one silly thing rule you or your day. 
Affirmations: I use these daily. Especially when I think things may have fallen to pieces.

Phrases like: ”I am strong, I am powerful, I can do anything.”Or ”I am the power. I control my destiny.” Emanate especially well, when emotions are running high and all you can think of is that little annoying event that’s blown up in your face. 

When you begin to radiate positivity with your mind. Your body will start to believe it! And you’ll magically feel less stressed, shaky or anxious. 
Deep Breaths. 

Your new diet has totally fallen to pieces? – Start again tomorrow.You’ve broken out right before a big social event?- Go treat yourself to a facial. You’ve had a fight with your partner? Hang out with your fam or your mates to distract you. 
If it’s something I’ve learned…. through all the times life’s thrown a surprise at me.

1) You’re never going to be given something you can’t handle. 

2) There’s always a way around things. 

And chances are someone close to you could be experiencing something similar. Don’t be afraid to admit it’s not all smiles and rainbows. 
Be Real with those close to you and share your feels. You’ll become closer for it and feel supported through it all.

You are your own power. Radiate good vibes and good energy will follow you.  

Training For Purpose

 

Why do you train?

Someone once asked me: ”Why do you put yourself through it?  The training. The pain. The disappointments. The ongoing commitment, for so little reward?” I said:

”Because I have a big goal. And I want it; more than anything in the world.”

 We all have a goal. We all have a visionary ‘better version of ourselves.’ But in a materialistic Kardashian influenced, society – it’s easy to lose sight of who you are bettering yourself, changing yourself, creating yourself, for. 

 Personally, I have a pretty big goal that I’m always training for. The Olympic Games. But it’s easy to lose sight of that, in the daily grind of ‘Do I have to get up in the dark, this rainy day and get my ass to the gym…’ 

 Small steps. And perspective. 

You want your dream body. Key word ‘You.’ And that’s exactly who you should be training for.

Not someone’s pre-conceived notion of what you should be, how you should act or what you ought to be doing with your life. You my friends, should always be the judge in your ”court room of life decisions.”

 It’s sad to think, that allegedly 1 out of every 3 women in Australia, will resort to some form of body enhancement surgery in their lifetime, to alter their physical appearance. If their notion is to better please themselves; then okay; fair enough.

But the generalization would be to make themselves more appealing for someone else. It’s easy to get influence via the media, of what is inspirational, what is deemed fashionable or sexy. I too, am susceptible to the influences of the material world; my friends would vouch for me on all the horrible spray tans I’ve rocked over the years…All to look out most ideal; right?… But to whom?

The hot guy you’ve been crushing on? The boss you’ve been trying to impress? The lecturer, you aspire to receive a perfect grade from?

 No. It’s you! And should always be you.

It would all be worth it.

Because, I’m doing it – for me. And it’s always been for me. Not to prove anyone wrong, to make anyone proud. But to create the best version of myself, for myself and see what we can do with all these gifts; I’ve been blessed with. 

Take some time to day to reflect. Who are you training for – Metaphorically and physically?..Sometimes readjusting your priorities can make you that much happier, stress free and operate with a clearer mind.

 Keep on – training for you.

Personal Training; a lifestyle – not just a qualification.

Vince and Roz’s Gym, a family business renowned as ‘Australia’s longest running gym,’ located in Sydney’s inner Western Suburb of Ermington. Is the office for Australian Fitness professional, Elizabeth Richmond. She has been involved and working within the fitness industry for over twenty-five years and says it’s her passion that has kept her interested for so long. She soon realised exercise for her became a lifestyle choice, rather than a job.

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The fitness industry in Australia, has somewhat become unregulated recently; with the rise of online study. Elizabeth believes she gained her knowledge and expertise from physically learning on the job, rather than ‘‘reading the books and getting the piece of paper.’’ There are seventeen different Certificate four in Fitness Training courses available, in Sydney alone including respectable colleges such as Australian Institute of Personal Training, Tafe NSW, FIA Fit Nation as well as Open Colleges. This course is available to study online in over ninety percent of them. The debate here is, can you really be a qualified personal trainer if you aren’t personally, physically training someone?

Elizabeth explained, when she was learning to become a personal trainer during the 80’s, there wasn’t a formal qualification to study a Fitness Training certificate. Instead, she was granted her first job from the knowledge and physicality she leaned from other trainer’s around her gym and her experience in competitive body building. This suggests that the fitness industry, should ensure all online courses entail a physical component. This will enable trainers aspiring to enter the industry have sufficient skills, knowledge and training techniques to both safely and competently train a person in real life.

Elizabeth said, she hasn’t stopped learning; twenty years later. When formal regulations eventually entered the fitness industry, Elizabeth completed her qualifications like anyone else. But she only last year, decided to return to studying yet again to completer her Diploma in Training, to be able to teach other people to become quality personal trainers; like herself.

Personal training isn’t just like a 9:00-5:00 job, Elizabeth has various clients of ages, abilities and locations around Sydney that she is loyal to and trains regularly. She doesn’t stick to a typical regime or program either. ‘’I believe training someone, is to suit their specific needs and goals,’’ Elizabeth explained. She has clients that operate weekly from Vince and Roz’s gym facility and experience a resistance and cardiovascular based workout, in the gym environment. But she also adapts to clients location, by training clients in the comfort of their home as well as walking with them as a form or fitness, but also therapy.

A personal trainer is not just a physical trainer, they are there to support a client’s mentality also. Elizabeth offers motivational coaching and goal setting as part of her services. She also mentors an elderly group of ESL (English Second Language) ladies, by leading an aerobics style workout to suit their needs and ability.

Elizabeth’s success as a personal trainer, is based solely on her. She markets herself on the success of her clients and retaining long-term clients. Elizabeth doesn’t use any other form of marketing or social media. This is surprising in the popularity of online personal trainers such as Emily Skye and Ashy Bines; who rely solely on their popularity on popular social sites like Instagram and Facebook. Elizabeth believes her popularity goes past the materialism of social media marketing. She continues to train herself, week in and week out and inspires her clients to continue to do so, in the process. A testimony to her art, Elizabeth is an example of a real trainer who keeps to fitness industry alive.