Sharing stories of recovery and practical tips from men who have fought depression.
"With the encouragement of friends, I made the leap to seek assistance."
I am a Brazilian fitness instructor and wellness coach living in Connecticut and working at Mountainside Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Center. There, I encourage people coping with substance use and mental health disorders to embrace a more fulfilling life in recovery through fitness classes as well as art and music therapy sessions.
It took me a long time to realize I had depression, because as a dancer and fitness trainer, I was always active, and these activities worked as natural anti-depressants. It was not until I had back surgery and knew I would be bedridden for nine months that I began to self-isolate.
I started throwing meth into the mix, to the point where I began struggling with addiction. I was stuck in a negative mindset after the surgery and began using meth to cope, but it was not helping my mental state. It only made the pain worse and made recognizing my struggle with depression more difficult.
With the encouragement of friends, I made the leap to seek assistance. After going to treatment, I was able to turn to wellness activities to bring me back to myself. I got better through a combination of spirituality practices, connecting with others, practicing mindfulness through arts and crafts, reintroducing movement into my life, and being in nature.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?
My dog, Myles
In the beginning, we should take it easy on ourselves because we are quick to get stuck in shame. Try reaching out for help, going for a walk, and appreciating the small things at first to feel better. Depression and isolation go hand in hand, so making a quick call to a friend to check in and setting goals to connect with other people creates accountability, helping us to stick to our plans.
– Leandro Carvalho, Fitness and Wellness Expert, Canaan, Connecticut, United States