Taking control through sport

Talking control through sport

I initially found my passion for sport because I wanted to get into the army. However after being discharged, I hit rock bottom and my mental health problems took over.

I have bulimia, depression, anxiety, and a cross between bipolar and BPD. My depression and anxiety reduces my energy and my motivation – and when I’m feeling low, I don’t like leaving the house. I’ve self-harmed and if I’m honest at some points I’ve lost the will to live.

I managed to get back into sport thanks to support from the military charity Help for Heroes. They realise that sport is a massive step on the road to recovery. I enjoy indoor rowing, powerlifting and archery. I do the rowing and powerlifting three to four times a week, and I like to do some archery whenever I have the time.

But it was tough. My bulimia causes my weight fluctuate a lot so I get ashamed when I put the weight back on – and the self-harm scars don’t help either. I get anxious leaving the house, especially when I’m running, but thankfully I’ve saved up and bought a few things to make a home gym. This really helps when my mood is low as I can still have a good workout.

I’m also really lucky that I’ve made lots of friends through my sport and Help for Heroes. It’s given me the opportunity to connect with others and I’ve met some amazing people. Everyone at the centres and in the gym has been through their own thing, whether it’s physical or mental.

Although I still get upset when I look at my body in mirror, the pressure of what others think isn’t as bad in a normal gym. The pressure of what you look like or what has happened goes out of the window.

I still have a long way to go, but as one of my favourite motivational quotes states: “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”. The key is to find something you enjoy and then it’s not a chore and you look forward to doing it.

Laura’s running the London Marathon for Mind. Help Laura reach her target.

Amazing news: Laura’s part of the UK team for the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida this May, best of luck!

Try not to let your fears stop you:

  • Exercising with a buddy can help reduce your anxiety.
  • If you’re intimidated by a gym, find a class or activity in friendly environment.
  • Have a backup plan for when you’re feeling low.