For many people, depression is an insurmountable obstacle that ruins your life. This was certainly the case for me when I was a teenager. As an anxious and depressed teenager, I felt a need to take control of my life and to gain the approval of others by losing weight. I lost 21 pounds in one month my sophomore year in high school and became my school's star cross country runner. While everything looked great from the outside, I was dying of anxiety and depression on the inside. Although I addressed my anorexia in high school, the underlying symptoms that fed my anorexia never left. After graduating college, my anxiety returned with full force. I ran 15 miles on a injured knee, believing that the more in shape I was the more validated I would be. Instead of receiving validation, my knee injury transformed into a chronic pain syndrome in both of my legs. Over the past six years, the tingling, sharp, searing, shooting pain has been both a curse and a blessing. The pain amplified my inner demons of anxiety and depression and left me with two choices--give into despair or be a champion and overcome. I chose the latter. Through exercise, mindfulness, and the love of family and friends, I am in a place of strength and humility. I feel strong for doing the hard work of addressing my depression and anxiety head on. I am humbled by my inner strength--given to me by a higher power--that helps me listen to and push through the pain in my legs.
Over the past six months, I've discovered my passion for weight training at Phoenix Fitness and Martial Arts. In spite of the pain, I've made it my goal to push a 1,000 pound sled. The sled to me represents the seemingly insurmountable obstacle of depression. By conquering the sled, I want to prove to myself and to the world that nothing is impossible. Depression can be beat by staring it right in the eye and pushing through the pain to find your inner strength. I'm dedicating my quest to push a 1,000 pound sled to honor Cameron K. Gallagher, a beautiful young women who accomplished much more in her brief 16 years on earth than many people will in their entire lives. Cameron struggled with teenage depression and planned the Speak Up 5k to raise awareness for her disease. In addition to planning the Speak Up 5k, Cameron set a goal to run the Shamrock Half Marathon. Cameron completed her goal and passed away shortly after crossing the Finish Line. Cameron's death was a tragedy, but that's where the tragedy ends. Cameron's legacy paves the way for youth to have a safe environment to discuss their inner battles, and find help and healing. Please consider supporting me as I train for and eventually reach my goal of pushing a 1000 pound sled. Every donation with go to honoring Cameron by supporting the SpeakUp 5k which promotes awareness of an action in combatting teenage mental illness.