I’ve learned enough now to know that a lot of people go through the same hardships in life, but few talk about them openly.
So I’m guessing others reading this may have had a similar experience as I had… and maybe you’ve kept it to yourself too.
So I’m just going to be open about it… in case it helps in some way.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you may know that about 13 years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, I lived in Paris for a couple of years.
Those of you who know that part, know that I partied hard - like a lot of people that age, which is normal - and burned the candle at both ends.
Yes, I drank too much wine, but I also got involved in a toxic relationship… an abusive relationship.
Without going into too much detail, the man I was unlucky enough to cross paths with, wasn’t very nice. He enjoyed playing mind games with me for his pleasure.
Of course, I was oblivious to it at first - I trusted him.
And when you trust someone, you leave your mind open to them. You believe them.
In short, over a period of months, he gradually tore me down, isolated me from friends, and eroded any self-confidence I held.
I became overweight, but that was the least of it.
Over time, I developed a nagging, repetitive internal dialog that was always there.
“I’m useless.”, “I’m ugly.”, “I’m worthless”, “Everyone’s laughing at me”.
On repeat. Day after day. Grinding me down.
All around me was the beauty of Paris and the opportunities that life there presented.
Yet I was blinded to all of it. All I could do was look internally with loathing.
My friends sensed I was changing, and one by one they made their excuses and drifted away.
I was alone and regular panic attacks and building pressure finally culminated in a full, painful, drawn-out breakdown.
Confidence shattered. Disoriented. Confused. Paranoid. Ashamed. Broken. Alone.
After returning to Ireland, I told my folks I’d like to try living in Galway. My dad drove me down and helped me find accommodation.
The long recovery started in a flat with beautiful sash windows in Dominic Street. It's funny what you remember most!
But I was rebuilding from scratch.
I’d forgotten a lot about how to behave in any given scenario, or how to react to some everyday things. I’d get paranoid and so, so anxious.
It was like I had to learn things I’d taken for granted all over again.
Belief and self-confidence seemed light years away. Unattainable even.
Over the next ten years, I did rebuild.
And I became strong again. Gradually.
I learned that taking care of myself, health and fitness-wise is a big part of feeling good about yourself and being able to enjoy life.
I also learned that your self-image - the image you hold of yourself internally - is The Most Important thing you can work on.
It continually shocks me how few know that it’s possible to consciously adjust this self-image for the better with practice.
Inspire Fitness grew with me - as I become stronger, it does too.
It reflects me in many ways.
Experiencing a breakdown spurred me on to helping women act more kindly to themselves and view themselves in a warmer light.
Working with clients and coaching them towards the goals they've chosen fulfills me completely.
Seeing them laugh, work out, interact and take back control of their lives provides me with so much joy.
I’m so proud of the every one of them, and I’m also proud of myself and what I’ve created.
I’m proud of how far I’ve come.
I want to share that with as many of you as I can.
I want you to be fit, strong, fast, honest, proud and confident, and in control.
I want you to exceed your wildest dreams.
I feel like I’ve put myself ‘out there’ a little in writing this.
I’d love to hear back from you - whether you’ve had a similar experience or not… either in the comments below or you can message me directly if you prefer.
To your health,
P. S. If you're interested in some of the tools I've used which have helped me build my own self image over the years, I've just published another blog post on that, here. PLUS, at the end of that post you can grab the daily template Tony Robbins uses for peak performance.