Getting Real about Mental Health: Living and coping with depression while running a small business

TDB Fitness Newsletter 5/23/2021

I live with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD. I had a really bad week this week. So I devoted our Sunday newsletter to sharing my story.

A picture of Renea and Vinnie on a hike, looking happy.  Proof that depression doesn't always look how you think it will.
Depression doesn’t always look the way you think it might. Even the highest functioning people can suffer from depression.

A Roller Coaster

TW: Mention of mental illness and suicide
If you don’t already know, Renea writes the weekly TDBFit newsletters. So when I say “I,” you know to whom I’m referring.

I decided to dedicate this week’s newsletter to my personal experiences with mental health. I had a terrible week. This week, depression, anxiety, and ADHD made it hard for me to do my job or feel like myself. And I want to talk about it.

I’ve struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. I had a panic attack for the first time at 8 years old. Through puberty my lows seemed much lower than necessarily warranted for most adolescent drama; sending me to my darkened bedroom for days at a time. One of the worst parts of my experience was having no idea what was going on with my own brain. No one I knew seemed to feel the way I felt. I didn’t have an example, or education, or language to help me define my thoughts and feelings. I felt alone, I felt fundamentally “broken” or wrong somehow, and I had a brain designed to double down on those negative feelings until I couldn’t find my way back up.

It wasn’t until I started studying adolescent psychology as part of my undergraduate education program that I started to realize there might be a reason why I was the way I was. It still took almost a decade, and a near loss with my struggle with suicidal ideation in October 2019, for me to really invest in my mental health. It was in the psychiatric care unit that I finally accepted something was wrong. It was lying on those paper sheets, and rock hard pillows, with freezing toes and tear-stained cheeks, that I realized things needed to change if I was going to survive.

Since October 2019 I have torn my entire life down to the foundation in order to start over. I’ve gone through intensive therapy and extensive identity development. I’ve learned that I suffered so long in silence because our societal stigmas around mental health keep people too ashamed to speak up. I’ve learned many people share my struggle. I’ve recognized that my workaholism and obsessive productivity were behaviors I used to mask my mental illnesses. And I’ve noticed that our society tends to reward people for these behaviors, making it easy to fly under the radar when they’re unhealthy.

I have also leaned on my support system. I’ve started following dreams I never thought I would. I’ve set myself free in many ways. And I’ve dedicated my life to helping others through talking about my experiences. Mental health is the top of my priority list. I think about mental health every day. I talk about mental health every day. I literally need to in order to survive. And my life has improved incredibly.

I still struggle with depression, anxiety, and ADHD. I will for the rest of my life. This week the symptoms of my depression made it feel impossible to fulfill the expectations of my every day life. However, I know I’m going to be ok now. I have skills and habits I’ve built in therapy and through engaging in fitness. I have an amazing partner and family that I know has my back. And I have a Team that will always be there to help me push through to the finish line, no matter what!

Running Team Di Bella Fitness with my partner has been a key factor in my continued mental health recovery. TDBFit has provided a platform for drawing attention to the importance of holistic mental and physical health. It has also provided me with a network of support and accountability for engaging in the kind of self care I’ve found to be essential for my survival. I am grateful beyond words for my Team!

Thanks for reading!

Team Announcements

Outdoor Workout

Good news Team! We have officially set a time/date for an outdoor, in-person workout. Set your calendars for Saturday June 19, 2021 at 9:00a. Location to be decided…


Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Hour

Thank you everyone who joined us on Thursday 5/20 for our evening “Happy Hour” workout! We had a short cocktail hour via Zoom call after. It was super fun, as always, to see everyone’s face. Hope to see you all in person in June!

2 thoughts on “Getting Real about Mental Health: Living and coping with depression while running a small business

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