In 2005, I was hospitalized on suicide watch, then released into an intensive outpatient program. From there, making today better for myself was all I focused on for years in my recovery. Sometimes that meant going to the gym. Other days it meant just getting out of bed and getting in the shower. For quite a while, I could only focus on how to make the day better for myself because doing even that took a huge amount of effort.
One of the things I ended up doing to make every day better for myself was becoming a personal trainer, a step I took simply to escape another job that I hated. As I got into my new work, I realized everything started feeling a little easier; I didn’t have to try so hard to do the things that used to require so much energy. Helping people helped me–I was hooked on the elixir of helping others.
A couple of years down the line, I wanted to help more people than I could one-on-one so I started a health and fitness blog called Strong Inside Out. On a friend’s encouragement, I decided to share my story of depression, hospitalizations and suicidality, and was overwhelmed by the positive feedback. So many people thanked me for talking about what usually lives in the darkness. I quickly realized that Strong Inside Out could be so much more than a resource for workout tips; I had the opportunity to create a safe place for people to come as they are and seek health from all angles.
Years of recovery later (I still consider myself in recovery and probably always will), I’m able to see that I make today better for others, and I don’t just mean the people I help. I make today better for my friends and family simply because I’m still breathing.
If you don’t yet believe that you make today better for the people who love you, it’s OK. I can sit here and tell you that you do and it’s the truth, but I know firsthand how false it can all sound when you’re in the darkness. For you, I ask that you instead consider the possibility that you’ll believe it in the future.
I felt unlovable before, and now I’m married with a baby girl. I thought I messed everything up then, and today I lead a movement to help people who feel just like I used to. For all the times I almost left, I have blessings I never dreamed of. Blessings I always saw other people had, but never believed I was worthy of.
I’m not cured of all my struggles. In fact, I’m struggling right now. But in spite of that, I know I still make today better even when I struggle.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all my time in recovery, it’s this: The world is not meant to be all light all the time. We are not valuable only when we smile and do good for others. Darkness comes so it can teach us how to heal. Without it, we’d never reach out for help or be vulnerable which are keys to intimacy with others.
You are not the dark thoughts that you have. Your worth and potential are not determined by the amount you’re able to do. You make today better because you are here on this earth, breathing the air and helping others experience this world as it is in both darkness and light. Stay with us. Stay and continue making today better for all of us.
Amy Clover is a fitness personality, performance health recovery coach and the force behind Strong Inside Out, a movement that helps people build individual health without scales or judgments.
Thank you so much for this. I love how you wrote this. 🙂 I have put some of the article on Facebook as my status to bring awareness to others.
You know my name but you don’t know me so let me tell you a bit about me. When I was 22 I was ill with Guillian-Barre syndrome (GBS), they misdiagnosed me and told my parents I had the human form of NVCJD & 6 months to live. I was put into the ward with patients who had NVCJD which had me in contact to that infection but they soon realised I was rapidly getting ill not the 6 months like they said, 2 days later I was in a induced come with a ventilator breathing for me as my nervous system shut don’t and you need your nerves to move limbs, breathe, talk, do everything, they took me for a scan which should I also had an inoperable brain tumour but they wasted the treat the GBS first, I spent some time in ICU plus I I spent months in a neurological hospital getting rehab. My arms started working again I had to teach myself fine motor skills, and to walk talk I was a baby learning everything again but I was left paralysed down my left leg so if it’s a good day it’s a wheelchair I use, I had a period where I was walking with crutches (my mum found out I was gay and she disowned me just after my dad died) but I relapsed and ended up bed bound for 2 year I have 2 carers in 4 x a day and I love all my carers think it’s cause I’m the youngest service user, plus they know me that well they know when I’m about to take a seizure or I’m going septic I’m now on tablets to shrink my brain tumour. I had a house adapted for the disabled but I got myself into so much trouble when my gf left me through things I had done so I never blamed, but I did tried to end my life. Ofcause I lived alone and was in so much trouble they took me into a nursing home for a year but I had police out looking for me, I wasn’t scared of nothing or anyone I think that’s cause I didn’t carer if I lived or died. Them my mum and other family members realised I tried to take my own life and my mum started speaking to me on the terms I acted normal and hadn’t to be gay in her company. My friends, other family members & carers accept me for who I am which is so gay. I have tried to take my life a few times but I think back to when I was told I had 6 months to live and seeing everyone that cared for me fall apart the last time I did it all they memories came flooding back. Yeh I have a paralysed leg I cannot weight bare and I take seizures but as much as my life is limited I didn’t die 6months after being misdiagnosed so everyday I’m grateful for that. I want to thank all the usnwt they make me laugh on a daily basis.
Thank you so very much for sharing your story with us. Please know our entire team is sending lots of love and encouragement your way. We absolutely believe you are worthy of love and support and community, no matter your struggles or sexuality. You are welcome here.
We’re also thrilled to know that you have found joy through USNWT. We agree that they’re a wonderful group of people! Would you actually email us at [email protected] so we can provide you with even more encouragement and potentially share your story with some of our friends who are part of the USNWT? It would be an honor.
I so desperately needed to read that today. Thank you so much!
Thank you for writing this piece.
Your story hits home!
Amy- I’m glad you’re still with us. I can relate a great deal to these unwanted, dark thoughts. I smile when you say, “you are not the dark thoughts that you have,” because only until recently have I began to understand and believe that. Thank you for sharing your journey and I’ll pray for you!
My name is Pastor Pearl. I am the founder and overseer of Oasis Empowerment Center Inc. We are a non for profit 501C3 Organization. One of our focuses as a Organization is to bring awareness to mental illness. I have a personal agenda as well. At the age of 14 my mom had a breakdown and was hospitalized for years. I literally saw her taken away in a straight jacket. I had my own struggles as well as other family members. I was reading your blog and wanted to know if you would give me written permission to share your story in a book that I am writing to help to give awareness to this disease as we all as relief to some of the stigma. I would of course not use your name but just your story. Please visit our website [email protected]: Thank you
I would love to share with everyone this natural life changing way to defeat your depression I truly swear by it http://Burgos88.depress1on.hop.clickbank.net
Needed words today
I have been so suicidal and have my days still. Have never been free from depression. Hope to be in the future. Can you give me any advice? I also want to be a healer and help others that are suffering once I do overcome my inner demons.
We’re so glad you reached out! We would really be honored to offer you some encouragement and support. Would you mind emailing our team at [email protected] so we can give you a proper response?
I used these thoughts when talking with a suicidal friend recently and they really helped him through that rough time. Thank you for all you do.