Have you been left in utter despair as the phrase “I don’t know how to help you..” is told to you for the umpteenth time in your life…Or am I the only one? Personally, those words have been more detrimental to my well being than beneficial. That phrase is used countless of times and may cause one to start believing that they are beyond hope or repair. Although it isn’t something that you can just sweep under the rug, depression needs to be addressed so you can thrive in your daily tasks instead of going through the motions. As Gruesome as the powerful phrase “I don’t know how to help you..” was to me, it was also the catalyst force that drove me to find a solution.

Here is what happened to me. I was in school and finals were only a month away. The typical student would study like crazy and place the finals first on their priorities list. But I just had received the news that I needed surgery on my ACL and Meniscus, and that became my top concern. “What if I could never truly run again, or walk without pain, or if I fell and tore everything to only find myself back in the surgical room?” I was overwhelmed with fear of the unknown.

That summer of was A BIG disappointment. I decided to follow through with my knee surgery during the summer months so I could alleviate the possibility of falling down on crutches during the snowy winter months. After a month, I began regretting the timing of the surgery! I am a very active person and here I sat on the couch unable to go swimming or hiking, etc. I was stuck inside by myself.

James Blumenthal, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Duke University stated that data suggests “that active people are less depressed than inactive people. And people who were active and stopped tend to be more depressed than those who maintain or initiate an exercise program” Disappointments are a part of everyday life but this time due to my situation, being at home unable to get around, it had a huge effect on me emotionally and with more force than ever before.

At that point, I was attending physical therapy for 3-5 months. I can’t tell you the countless of emotional breakdowns I had in front of these people!! I fell 3 times after my knee was operated on, therefore I felt paralyzed with fears and I refused to cooperate with the physical therapists for a time. But then I heard “Better or Bitter, You choose.” Wait…What is that? If I am able to choose, then I can get up and fight. This time “I don’t know how to help you..” phrase no longer had power over me. I began to recognized something, that I could help myself. If they can’t help me then I will!

As I began moving again, my countenance had changed. I’d finish my personal therapy session and would walk out a completely different person. It was a day and night difference! It changed my perspective on how I viewed myself as well as how I viewed those around me. I found that my response to circumstances became less destructive. No longer was I asking myself “What was wrong with me?” It was realizing that my depression did not make me less than others and that I needed to find a way to change the way I was thinking.

The feeling of empowerment.

The power of change is in your mind. Anytime you push your body physically to do something that you absolutely dread, it is, in fact, teaching you the importance of commitment, endurance & perseverance. If you don’t move then life will move without you…

The answer for me was in the feeling of empowerment. A feeling that made me proud. A feeling that eventually turned into a reality that formed a healthy habit. All because I decided to move that knee, despite the overbearing pain I felt internally and outwardly. It is a process to find what works for you.

For some, it may mean that you find the courage to see a personal trainer or therapist, for others, it could be joining a gym, book club or even doing personal study. As for myself It was simply dedicating a few minutes each day to take care of me. That meant going outside for a walk. It also meant finding purpose in commitment with a gym membership. I did not have expectations of losing weight, although it was a side benefit. I can now proudly say that “I can’t help you” will no longer be my roadblock!

Written by: Adriana Copeland; Staff Writer

ADRIANA COPELAND is a fitness professional with WhenEver Fitness and has been in the fitness industry for some time. She continues to study and advance her knowledge of fitness and exercise science. She has been able to overcome many challenges including being overweight, losing 70 lbs and going through a knee surgery. With a hard edge and soft heart, she offers readers a unique perspective of knowing many of the things that they are going through.

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