I’ve wanted to write a blog for quite a long time. For many different reasons. And for also another number of reasons, I’ve been putting it off!
I love to write. If I have anything important to remember, to do, for planning – like most people, I write it down. I always make notes. I love to write creatively now and again and for the three big trips I’ve been on in my life, I’ve kept a journal.
It’s cathartic and often for me an easier way of dealing with and processing my emotions. I’ve always struggled to say exactly how I feel. Writing is an easier way to process and digest everything that’s circling round in my mind, as well as yoga and my new journey over the last two years with pranayama and meditation.
So, before I GOA-head (…pardon the pun.) with the subject matter and the actual blog itself, my name is Kelsey. This is an honest blab. Although I’m still fairly young, this is my first attempt at sharing some of the events in my short time on this planet so far – most of which people don’t know. Not through trying to keep it a secret or hide who I am – but more denial and embarrassment, I guess. My family know pretty much everything, and I’m blessed to have such a strong support network. I work in an industry that is healthy and positive for me – previously surrounded by fun, caring and talented people – however the lockdown days mean this still applies, but virtually. I’m incredibly lucky.
But, now feels the right time to share. To be honest with myself more than anything else and practice what I preach. To be my truest self. To be me. And hopefully inspire anyone who may read this to share their story or experiences with this beautiful gift we all have which is life.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the family and people around me that I do. No matter where I have lived, worked, travelled or studied, I have met some truly incredible people. Some of which I get to see or speak to, some I may never see again. And that’s okay – but to anyone who may read this who I have had the pleasure of knowing for however long, thank you. Because you’re amazing.
If I am brutally honest though, without my family – I would not be sat here typing this blab…or blog!
And that sentence is really hard to type. And to read. And not to delete.
I’ve already re-written the start of this blog three times! I thought I’d go back to when I was nine, or say how I’ve always been a person with direction and goals. Or how I turned from performing arts to fitness and how that really changed my life. Which is a massive part of why I’m here. But I’m going to get to the first point – the point I have never really shared.
I have and still sometimes do suffer with my mental health. With anxiety and previously with depression. And we come to realise, most people in the modern-day world do. I have had suicidal thoughts, I have self-harmed and – in the past – once, tried to take my own life.
But I never/very rarely talk about it. I haven’t ever really shared it. I’ve always told myself that the sh*t I’ve been through is nothing compared to others. I always ask if everyone else is okay, how are they doing. But I don’t ask myself that question. I busy all areas of my life and don’t let the possibility of someone loving me come into it. Or the possibility of loving myself – which should be for us all, number one.
This isn’t for any sympathy, and certainly not a sob story. (…although I may need to change the low tone fairly soon before it looks that way!) This is more to raise awareness and show that, behind a smile there can still be pain. Whether we suffer alone or not is another matter.
I actually started writing this blog in November 2019. I took a week off work and it was the hardest thing to do. I went to my GP (and can I just say – massive shout out to him – again, I wouldn’t be sat here writing this without him) and I took his advice. We put on my sick note ‘stress and depression’. Now before this, I’d already been through two mental breakdowns in 2015 and 2016. I was in denial that this was due to not only exhaustion but I was not eating enough. I couldn’t see that this was part of the problem.
I worked at a theme park as a performer and I would walk well over 20,000 steps a day, 3 shows a day and sometimes early and late shifts on top (with an 1hr 30-minute commute either side of that). And do you know how many calories I was having? Or that I entered onto My Fitness Pal? 1300.
Obviously, some days I would have more or end up binging – but this was at one point ‘the target’.
I’m not going to go on much more about this part because otherwise the blog will become a dissertation! But you get the idea and how out of balance I was to even think this was okay.
The second time I came back from touring round schools doing the Wizard of Oz. Again, I kept thinking I needed an active job to lose weight.
For both of these jobs I absolutely loved it! I met some incredibly talented and wonderful people. I have some great memories. But I denied myself a basic need of every human. FOOD. PRANA or energy.
This time, I had tried to physically hurt myself. I’d been in A&E twice in the first time and I think twice in the second. Could be wrong – to be honest, some parts of that time are quite hard to remember.
I was trying to live a dream but also sabotaging it.
Long story short, I found the right medication and stuck with it – reluctantly! Throughout the first lockdown this year, I came off medication entirely. I never told any of my employers, no one at work – only my family and one or two close friends. Again, denial. Embarrassment and fear that it would affect me getting a job. Or people would think I was a ‘ill’.
My own health was always at the bottom of the pile. So, I was searching for work after touring and at the end of 2016 I applied to become a Fitness Instructor and PT. I completed both in 8 months and had my first gym job in September 2017. I did the course alongside working at my old college as a production assistant full time. I started at Feelgood Fitness and that started to change my life.
It fitted with my passion for movement, it was an independent gym so I brought dance and stretch/balance to the timetable and supported my manager to grow the community. Our bosses were super open to anything that would mean members would get the best experience. From there it grew and grew. I’m not saying everyday was great. I’d feel sick with anxiety before a class sometimes and Helen threw me in at the deep end on my first day, which was a really great thing for me. But I loved that job. I loved the people and I really felt I had found my calling in life.
Before gym life I had been doing Yoga since leaving performing arts college and it always seemed to creep in. We did a little on our weekly schedule in our 3 years at MADD College (with our crazy but lovely Russian ballet teacher!) After graduation, I went to Hot Pod Yoga every week – tried to get there several times but it depended on finances. Every time I came home from London or on tour, I did Yoga. But not really anywhere else. I’d never even ventured into self-practice yet either.
One of my teachers asked if I’d ever considered teaching. Immediately I thought ‘how on earth will I remember everything and all those names!’. I felt then, I needed it too much for myself in order to be a good teacher. I did research on courses but none of them seemed to fit and were way out of my price range. I knew I wanted to go to India. I knew nothing else.
Four and a half years later, April 2018 I think it was – I found it. A small course, affordable if I saved and because I was recommended it through a teacher – I felt safe to go on my own.
It was the most amazing experience of my life. I loved every single second. Absorbed every moment and felt a genuine happiness I hadn’t experienced for such a long time. I ate so much, moved every day and didn’t feel an inch of guilt for eating or living. I didn’t track my steps or calories. It felt like my soul was set free!
I went back for my second half of the course a year ago in March 2020 and came home just as Italy was suffering and COVID was getting serious.
I’ve realised I’ve gone a little off course…I’m going to do a separate blog about my experience in India.
But the main point I am trying to stress and admit to myself – and I need to type this.
I had a form of eating disorder. I wasn’t clinically anorexic, never made myself sick but I have definitely had body dysmorphia and my cure has been yoga and the people who have supported me – often without even knowing it.
Lockdown has helped me to break some bad mental patterns – and as I sit here and type this, I feel a genuine sense of contentment. I know this is going to be an ongoing battle for me. But yoga has given me the tools to manage it.
So, the purpose of this blog is to hopefully raise the awareness of how important movement is – whatever that means for you – but in a balanced way. How important looking after your mental health is. To speak to someone. And to learn to love yourself.
Because we have one life in this world – who knows what may happen in the next one.
Lockdown has been a sad and difficult time, but a gift to the human race to help us wake up to what really matters.
I was so reluctant to go on medication and again, this is something that is specific to each individual. I have also believed in natural healing, hence why I really didn’t want to be on anything. I’m still learning in both Yoga and Personal Training – I’m not perfect.
But I want to help support others to move and grow both mentally and physically.
I hope I haven’t bored you to death and I intend my other posts to be a lot more informative and light-hearted!
But this is my why. My purpose – to live and to make a difference for the time I’m on this planet. My ‘why’ and reason for creating KPMINDBODY. I have never really shared the struggles. I put the smile on for many years without sharing with anyone the dark times. I look back and realise that this lack of honesty with myself, was a big root to my anxiety. I felt I had to hide it.
Well, not anymore. I want any future client of mine to know, that hard times are real. But pain is there for a reason. There is no darkness that is too great to block out the light. And I will be there to support anyone who may need it. Fitness, yoga, or for a tea and chat. (…for now, virtually of course.)
So – Stay safe. Keep moving and please reach out to someone if you need help. I’m always hear to listen to anyone who may need it. I hope I can be half the teacher that mine are and I’m excited to learn and share experiences in order to help one another.
This is just the start of the journey, and I hope to walk the path with you sometime.
Lots of love and light,