A MESSAGE FROM OUR FOUNDER: A MENTAL HEALTH UPDATE

A MESSAGE FROM OUR FOUNDER: A MENTAL HEALTH UPDATE

It's been a while since I've wrote about my experience and journey. I like to be completely transparent with you, the Thirteen Fit community, because it's important to me that you know that there is a real person on a real journey with real experiences behind the brand - we are not just some highlight reel, this is real life sh*t.

For those of you just tuning in, I opened up on Move More Worry Less about my mental health journey in May 2021 for Mental Health Awareness Month. If you haven't listened, I'm going to drop that episode below for ya.

 

 

At that time, my therapist had recommended I look into medication to treat my depression and anxiety. I haven't said much since but not because I'm hiding or didn't want to - life and business have just pulled me in a million directions so I haven't really had the right moment to lay it all out there.

Here's the realness though: when she told me medication might be my next step, my heart dropped. I broke down. It was a very difficult moment for me.

Am I really that f*cked up that I need to medicate?
Is everything I've done for my mental health up until now been pointless?
Do I really want to put meds into my body?

These and many more thoughts were spinning through my mind. I decided to post on our IG stories opening up about what was happening, in tears. The responses I received were so uplifting and inspiring - so many of you reached out to tell me your story and journey with medicating. It gave me so much hope.

And it made me think. I always preach that mental health is just as important as physical - and I'm a firm believer in talking about it and being open (hence this blog post). So why was I finding the idea of medication to be so difficult?

The funny thing is that when it comes to our physical health, we so easily talk about all of it; about our fitness, injuries and how we are rehabing, headaches and how we are taking Advil, health conditions like diabetes and how we need insulin, autoimmune conditions, hormone imbalances, etc, etc, etc... But when it comes to mental health, it feels weird to talk about medication let alone take it!

But like... why?

In May 2021 I started meds. With a lifetime of depression and anxiety under my belt, (and countless self-development books and podcasts, fitness, therapy, meditation, you name it) I felt I had exhausted my resources and even though I was active in my quest for happiness, I would find myself in another depressive episode, curled up on the couch, with almost no energy to do anything.

Why suffer if we don't have to?

Medication has gently upgraded my quality of life. I want to be 100% real with you and don't want to go as far as to say it's dramatically changed things because I still feel like me. Sure, I feel good but I still have low moments and bad days but much less frequently. I'm less explosive in sadness and anger. I feel more balanced overall.

My point is that it doesn't need to be taboo to talk about mental health and taking medication for it should be completely acceptable. The dream isn't to suffer daily, it's to be happy in your skin. And sometimes that means adding medication - and that's ok!

Disclaimer: I am not saying you should take meds. I'm not saying it should be your first resort. I'm also not saying it should be your last resort. I'm simply saying if it feels right for you, do it and don't be ashamed. Keep an open mind. And if it's not right for you, don't do it. Just take care of yourself and your happiness, whatever that looks like for you!

In the last 8 months of taking medication, I've gained clarity to improve other aspects of my life: I've been able to really, reaaaallly hone in on my bedtime/morning routines, I've started meditating, I hired a purpose/alignment coach, I've set real, tangible goals (which is something I've always struggled with because goals give me anxiety), I've started reading daily again (both fiction and non-fiction!), I've continued therapy AND have been able to drop down from once a week to once every other week, and I've sorted out my stomach issues which involved getting insurance and getting my appendix removed!

To be honest, I don't think I would have taken most of those steps (or at least not that quickly) if I didn't start medication. If you can relate to my story then you understand how hard it is to be productive and regularly care for yourself when your mind is flooded with dark, negative thoughts.

I'm here to tell you that you don't have to suffer and you most certainly don't have to suffer alone. This community is here for you. I hope that through sharing my journey that you can see and feel that. 

As always, don't be a stranger. DM us, email us, tag us - connect with us.

Xo,
Paige

Paige Festa

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