I never played competitive sports. I detested PE classes for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I sucked at sports. Second, everyone knew that I sucked at sports.
PE was the only form of exercise I got (apart from running in the forests as a kid) for most of my childhood. Drawing, reading and being on the computer were my preferred activities.
I occasionally played tennis but that didn't last long either. My physical well-being was "alright". I was never fat, just skinny-fat. I could barely outrun a 1st grader as a 6th grader. Lifting my head up in the morning was more than enough for lifting things. Sports just weren't my thing. My peers made sure that it stayed that way.
When puberty came around however, I quickly became interested in getting a sixpack. No, I don't mean a sixpack of beer.
"Girls like sixpacks! I want a sixpack so I can get all the girls!", I thought to myself.
Now, like any kid that age in the 21st century would do, I Googled "how to get a sixpack fast". The results were terrible. I was the victim of false advertising.
"GET A SIXPACK IN JUST TWO WEEKS AS A TEENAGER! ULTIMATE GUIDE TO KILLER ABS!"
As you may guess, I never got a sixpack.
When I turned 15 the need for a sixpack grew to a need for a ripped body (and a sixpack, the beer-kind). Surely everyone would start respecting me if I was big.
I started doing bodyweight exercises and hitting the gym with my dad every other blue moon. I was still lacking proper direction and the results were non-existent due to bad practice and lack of a routine.
I was exercising for all the wrong reasons. The reasons didn't come from within me but from others. You should be exercising for yourself. To lead a healthy lifestyle.
My motivation for exercising was purely derived from the need of acceptance. I was never a social kid. I never really did that well with others. Like everyone else I wanted to fit in but I never could. I had a friend or two at times but as the years passed more and more of my time was spent alone.
I had social anxiety that barely let me leave my own room. Confidence was a foreign term to me. I was shy and fragile which eventually led to a reclusive lifestyle that peaked around last year.
I'd rather not self-diagnose myself with anything. It used to be a big hobby of mine a few years ago. I was certain I had everything from lung cancer to MS.
I'd say I was quite depressed. I never turned to anyone with my casual teenager problems so I ruminated until it carved my soul. I continued this until adulthood. I had no friends and barely talked to anyone in school. I didn't want to talk to my parents about it. (I don't blame them for anything, you can't really give help to someone who refuses to take it).
My favorite pastimes were crying, lying in bed and listening to music (while crying).
I think I cried enough for at least a decade that year. In hindsight it all seems silly now.
I'd wake up, dreading the fact that I was still alive. I was never suicidal per se but I'd occasionally get "suicidal ideation". There were times when I felt truly hopeless. When I had no school I talked to no-one. My normal day would start with a light breakdown in the shower and an existential cup of coffee.
I was beyond the point of just wanting to get a long with my fellow humans. All I wanted was to not feel like I've been ran over by a truck when I wake up.
Somewhere along the line I managed to create a habit out of going to the gym
It began from taking bike rides around the neighborhood as I had to push myself to get some fresh air to fill my lungs with.
With a bike I could move fast enough to avoid other people as much as possible.
After some days or weeks I was going to the gym, though only in the moonlight to ensure no one else would be around.
There I'd exert the last amounts of energy I had in me. Nothing else brought me pleasure than lifting weights. Slowly I'd learn that no matter how terrible I felt I'd get some sense of achievement when leaving the gym, no matter how small. When I'd exit the building at 11pm or 1am I felt great (this was a profound discovery). I could smell the air and the rain still fresh in the ground. I didn't feel miserable or tired of living in that moment.
Needless to say, rest days were hell.
It's been almost a year since the worst I've been in my short life
I now exercise daily. Three gym visits and three runs a week. My social anxiety is just about gone.
That sense of achievement exercise gave me was very important. It made me feel like I have value. That I wasn't a worthless sack of shit. (Runner's high is some amazing stuff. I feel like an addict.)
After time, when I'd get negative thoughts I'd stop there. I'd greet it
"Hello irrational thought! I actually feel great!"
It felt stupid at first but then I truly started believing it.
It's also important not to let thoughts and feelings accumulate. Meditation is a great tool for overcoming anxiety, stress and depression. It's great for your health!
Self awareness on negative thinking patterns is essential. For someone suffering from anxiety or depression it's important to learn to understand how their issue affects them and feeds itself. It's a loop of negativity. Depression can be controlled.
For anyone dealing with social anxiety I'd recommend this website.
For anyone dealing with depression I'd recommend this article. (It's a bit more "male orientated".)