We get to see a lot of transformations and to celebrate the success our members achieve. None more so than Elizabeth, we could not be prouder have played a small part!
Struggles with Mental Health
– This Is My Story –
My name is Elizabeth Matthews and I struggle with mental Health
Before I go any further, I feel you should know more about myself to really comprehend the trauma and predicament I have been faced with.
I am 30 years old, married with three young daughters (8,6,3). All my life I have suffered with what I thought was mood swings as a teen. ‘lows’ and ‘highs’ which could attack at any point. Most recently within adulthood my highs would lead to ridiculous spending sprees, obsessions that I just could not release myself from and false confidence that I had never had that lead me into risky situations and I won’t lie I put my marriage and happy family home at risk… I would feel untouchable indestructible leading me to take risks I’d never consider doing in my ‘normal’ state. My lows… I had this need to combat them with any pick me up I could, this might sound normal to most, but it would give me anxiety… I had to expel it. If I couldn’t spend, I would get anxious and so low… even a small chocolate bar would give me the boost to feel like I had a good day and It was worth getting up that morning, my lows would make me feel unworthy un needed.. food and money became my friend losing sight of all I am.
During a nightmare of a time with doctors and specialist just trying to get my diagnosis. I was stripped of all my previous anti-depressants and left cold turkey. Struggling with being trapped in three personalities and also being the heaviest I had ever been I hit an all-time low which resulted in hospital after I felt like the world was crashing in on top of me and I didn’t want to be around for this to happen. Finally, I was given a diagnosis of bi-polar. But with still little help from specialists I was given a new medication which helped with symptoms and helped me sleep. But I felt numb I was even more confused as to who I was, and the side effects of weight gain gave me more anxiety and depression. I was still lost and that feeling of hopelessness sat heavy on my shoulders. During the Christmas period my friend approached me about joining Simply Gym (Gorseinon) and sharing the cost of a personal trainer. I was very apprehensive, this was so out of my comfort zone, and if it wasn’t for taking the first steps with a friend I would of never of walked into anywhere new on my own. We began training and I started to feel a new sense of hope I saw changes in my weight that gave me a thirst to carry on. I started to slowly channel my mental health to exercise… using my obsessions for good use. And before long what was obsessions turned into ‘focus’. I focused hard on exercise and my nutrition soon followed… I was able to completely turn around my nutrition for the better. I lost 18lb I finally was able to come off my medication using exercise wherever I could. I looked forward to my weekly sessions to really work out the struggles of the week, finding myself, it really changed my whole outlook on exercise, it was clearing my mind it was giving me hope and goals that were now so achievable.
The news of covid-19 shook the world, for me my main worry was whether I was strong enough to cope without the gym it was everything to me. But my goals still needed to be met and I knew I was not going to cope without continuing my exercise. But weekly posts from simply gym and set challenges gave me the inspiration to carry on knowing they are supporting us despite the gyms being closed. I was excited. Then came the 30 day shape up plan which was absolutely amazing… I was able to learn to stick to my own goals, I have learnt I didn’t need someone telling me how to be better, I just needed the support of a great team and an amazing plan to keep my going on my goals. When I am low, I grab my earphones with the best upbeat music and I run/walk, until my mood is lifted. Leaving me feeling empowered. When I am approaching my ‘high’ states I work out… following les mills provided by the gym and I use my extra energy to burn more fat instead of burning the bank. I am now currently taking part of the 24-day shape up and I am thoroughly enjoying it, it keeps me level and it improves my health, happiness and confidence. To date I have lost a total of 39lbs. I am medication free I am healthier, and I am happier. My journey for weight loss still continues but for me my biggest change is the way I use my mind and channelling my mental health issues to benefit my life, which I have never ever been able to achieve before. The way in which I see the world has changed and I couldn’t be happier that it was through exercise.