My depression started in middle school. I didn't like myself. I thought I wasn't attractive enough, and I suffered from terrible lows.
In college, I started feeling this self-hatred even more — which is when I also developed .
Growing up, I ran track, and played volleyball and basketball. But in college, I started working out obsessively. I viewed it as a punishment, a way to control my weight and move closer to an aesthetic goal. I would binge on food and then go work out for hours. Soon, I was purging too.
In my mid-twenties, I was able to pull myself out of this cycle of binging and purging, though it took all my strength and a lot of time — about a year and a half to fully break free. But even after I'd moved past most of my eating disorder, the depression lingered.
I wasn't just feeling low either — I spent the next year constantly swinging between . For periods of time, I would feel invincible. I would go long stretches without sleeping, and feel very productive. But then I'd crash to such a low. I became irritable and mean to my friends. I would lie on my best friend's couch and just sleep.
In early 2016, when I was 28, I got to a point where I didn't want anyone to be around me. I thought about what it would be like if I didn’t exist. I hit an all-time low and was no longer functioning.
I finally went to the doctor: She diagnosed me with , and prescribed medication, which I started taking. It worked, but it left me feeling nothing. It's like I wasn't actually myself; I felt void. Eventually, I stopped taking it.
Around this time, I started going to for an old . As the basis of PT, they showed me how to use exercise to get stronger, and I noticed that this progress was making me feel better mentally too.
I knew I didn't want to depend on medicine, but I also knew I couldn't go back to those ups and downs. I prayed about it, and talked to friends. I also consulted with my doctor, who was very supportive, especially since I wasn't experiencing mania in a way that endangered my life.
Ultimately, I decided medication wasn't the right choice for me, so I decided to try to use fitness and self-care to manage my moods instead.