I have spent a lifetime obsessed with my weight and appearance, a lifetime chasing the white picket fence dream and a lifetime suffering from depression!
My life has been littered with addictions, heartache, broken relationships, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and insecurities. I have been in and out of therapy since the age of 16. I have had two attempts at taking my own life, been hospitalised three times, on and off medication and I have searched and searched for the answers to my misery in books, therapists, healers, courses, diets, pills, jobs and relationships. And while I did have periods of, what I thought was happiness, they were always short lived. I had no real clue as to exactly what my issues were despite all the therapy and my happiness was always derived from the external; people, circumstances and material things.
If you ask any therapist or self-help guru, they will tell you that to get over any emotional issues, it all starts on the inside. Happiness is an inside job right? I always thought that statement was a load of crap. Happiness has nothing to do with your body or appearance? How can I possibly be happy when I am too old, fat or ugly? When I don’t have the man, kids, house or money? Where does this incredible pressure on women come from?! And geez; I was slim and reasonably attractive so why wasn’t I happy?!
After missing out on having children and plunging to my lowest point to date which was closely followed by the sudden, suspicious death of my mother, I suffered from an injury that sees me having to completely change my gym routine. One of my many addictions was cardio/aerobic exercise (to ensure I stayed slim) so weight training was not something I had done previously but was now the only exercise left available for me to fuel my dependence on my body and appearance. Isn’t weight training what fitness models do? And once again, I find an avenue to reinforce my need to derive happiness from my external only this time I get to show it off on stage?! Surely then I will finally be happy?
Driven by vanity and low self-esteem (that I was completely oblivious to) I took on the ultimate attempt to satisfy the ego by becoming a fitness model and competing on stage at the tender age of 46. It wasn’t until I was well past the point of no return that I realised I had completely over committed myself. What was I thinking?! With all my issues – I was, of course, very shy and introverted despite mastering the art of covering it up. How was I going to get up on stage and fool the world, like I always had, that I wasn’t broken like I always had? Was I crazy?! It is through this intense journey that I inadvertently stumbled across the answers I had been searching for my entire life. I started down this road for all the wrong reasons and I ended up on my spiritual journey and curing myself of lifelong misery!
My recovery truly is a combination of many factors. From a change in diet and lifestyle to weight training to the many mind techniques I used to get my shy ass on stage, plus the support of my mentors and coaches. But if I had to pick one that I believe rules supreme over my recovery and life today, it would be passion! Finding my passion (weightlifting) and purpose (empowering women) in life has me jumping out of bed, without hesitation, at 4.30am each morning and given me the strength to adhere to the discipline that most can’t fathom. It has seen me enduring incredible pain and gives me a feeling of personal empowerment and reward like I have never known. We are all here for a specific reason and I had searched and searched for mine, believing it was hiding behind that allusive picket fence. But your passion in life has nothing to do with others, it has nothing to do with your family or relationship. It is all about you and the unique gifts that we all have to offer that are just waiting for you to discover. Life is too short to not live each day with passion and purpose. I spent 46 years of my life in mediocrity and misery; what a waste!
I now fully understand and appreciate the incredible power of premium health in body, mind and spirit. And how it can be used to facilitate healing or transformation at any age and for any reason. And no one should have to go the extremes I did to work this out! Why are we not taught all this in school?! How to deal with depression, heartache, death, divorce, eating disorders and so on? Why are we not taught self-worth as the critical life skill that it is? We get so caught up in what we “should” be doing at 30, 40, 50… Where are these rules written that life is supposed to be a certain way? We women seem to be so good at burying our dreams and ourselves in order to fit in and please everyone else. And too many of us suffer in silence like I did. We are never too old, it is never too late!
Age is no barrier to your dreams!!
Written by Jane Curnow, author of Finding Myself From the Outside In.