Last month we kicked off the new focus period with Alexis amazing contribution. This month sees Rob's touching post.
What a great start it has been with this new focus period where Get A Grip is raising awareness for men's mental health and male suicide in particular. STILL the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.
Name: Rob Speare
What exercise, sport or fitness regime do you partake in and how often?
(This can be anything from walking to work to 5/6times a week at the gym/team training)
I am an avid Crossfitter which I have been doing for around 2 years now. I used to go to the gym but didn’t really make that much effort. I have always enjoyed running and swimming, as well as rugby but only pursued that at school.
Since starting Crossfit this has been the only sport I have ever really committed myself to. I love how much it pushes you, including the social and community aspect.
When did you start to experience mental health problems?
I would have always probably described myself as anxious since I was a child; I develop a mixed eating disorder in my late teens which persisted until I was about 21. On reflection, and alongside that I also developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but I was only diagnosed with this more recently.
I have had several courses of treatment for OCD and I am having more treatment at present.
Was there a ‘lightbulb’ moment when you realised you had to make a change and how did your transition into exercise and fitness come about?
As you can see I’ve tried several different types of sport and exercise and not consistently applied myself to any these, I also went to the gym and had the same approach. It was my husband who suggested we try Crossfit, which I did with some scepticism.
After going through two weeks of hell as I had never endured such intense exercise, I found myself wanting to go back every day. It felt like meditation. I was able to focus my attention on something other than my obsessional thoughts or worry. I was enduring a though workout with other people going through the same – I felt part of something. I was seeing myself become fitter.
What impact has exercise and fitness had on your physical and mental health?
It has helped me immensely. Aside from giving me time to focus, it lifts my mood and makes me feel connected to something else and to other people.
Through consistently applying myself to something I’ve not only seen my mental health change but also my body. I don’t think that I’m ever going to be the world’s greatest weight lifter but I now really love an endurance WOD.
Any future fitness goals or targets?
Keep at it. That’s the beauty of being human, I guess. There will always be stuff that I need to work on. If I didn’t then I wouldn’t need to go Crossfit. If I had to name a specific goal it would be to work on my snatch technique.
Any final words of encouragement or advice for anyone struggling with mental health issues?
There are times when everything will look really bleak and tough, with no way of it every changing. It will, but it just takes time. It will be hard to make any change but start off slow, go for a walk, go for a paddle in the sea. I’m not saying you must do Crossfit, it’s not for everyone. Find something you enjoy and make it yours. And never, ever be ashamed of what you have experienced.
Thank you Rob!
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Because the weight of the world can be heavy!