A teenager who suffered from such crippling anxiety that she tried to commit suicide three times claims that exercise has given her a second chance at life.
Courtney Lorking, 18, is now studying to become a personal trainer and she wants to now help others find peace through fitness too.
Her anxiety was so severe that she couldn’t leave the house and eventually resulted in having to get stitches on her wrists after three suicide attempts in just four weeks.
‘My anxiety had become so severe that I wanted to die,’ she says.
She was then admitted to a psychiatric ward for three days – which she calls the worst period of her life.
‘I slept all day and there was nothing to do there. You just feel like a prisoner.’
On leaving, she decided to try and turn her life around…and headed to her nearest gym.
‘Once I got out of hospital I told myself that I didn’t want to feel that way ever again, I don’t want anyone else to feel like that.
‘I saw a psychologist and realised that I needed to listen to my body and put my health first. Going to the gym is like therapy for me, it really helps.’
‘I just want to show people what fitness and fuelling your body correctly can do.’
Now a wellness coach, she’s now trying to raise awareness about depression and anxiety in young women and is encouraging them to put themselves – and their health – first.
‘If I start to feel down I’ll go to the gym or eat something really delicious that I enjoy,’ says Courtney
‘I eat whatever my body is craving – if I feel like I want to eat pizza I go for it. Listen to your body, accept yourself for who you are and do what makes you happy.
‘I’ve learned to be by myself and enjoy my own company and I think that’s such a big part of health.
‘Health and fitness absolutely saved my life, it gave me something to fight for.’
While depression isn’t something that is cured with one fix, Courtney is keen to point out having an activity that centres around you and your well-being has been crucial in her own path back to wellness.
‘You have to keep going, tomorrow is another day. You have to put yourself first, no matter the consequences.’