Working Out Through Anxiety and Depression: Hung’s Story

Hung’s Story
In highschool, Hung was diagnosed with depression and anxiety but he was able to manage it. However, in college, a bad relationship and the stress of classes and a job elevated his depression and anxiety. Through counseling, working out, meditating, and self-help books he was able to find relief again.

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Age 22 at time of story

Overthinking, racing thoughts, difficulty focusing, insomnia, hopelessness, worthlessness, and the empty feeling that never went away. That was what I felt every day growing up and what I thought was normal. I didn’t know what mental illness was, it wasn’t talked about in school and growing up in an Asian household being “depressed” or having “anxiety” wasn’t a thing you were just being “lazy” they would say. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in my early years of high school but never really thought anything of it. I figured since I was getting by in school, and I was always surrounded by friends, I shouldn’t expect too much from life even though I felt so empty.

As I researched mental health issues, I started seeing other people’s experiences and how they coped and dealt with everything they were going through. During my last year of college, I hit one of the lowest points of my life. I was in a toxic relationship, working part-time, and had a full college schedule. I was spreading myself too thin. My stress levels skyrocketed and so did my depression and anxiety. This was when my suicidal thoughts were severe, and I felt extremely fatigued all the time. I remember regularly waking up during the middle of the night feeling so irritable and restless with my heart pounding and my mind racing. In a matter of one month, I dropped from 170lbs to 140lbs keep in mind that I’m 5’9” so being 140lb for my height was unhealthy.

When the significant weight loss and the constant suicidal thoughts continued I knew I needed help. I saw online that many people said that counseling was really helpful so that was my first stop. My counselor helped me understand what was going on and she reassured me that I will not always feel this way. She suggested anti-depressants and I recalled reading that many people had good experiences on it so I figured since I felt so crappy why not give it a try. How much worst could it make me feel? The anti-depressants helped and during this time my best friend noticed my weight loss and suggested that I get back to working out and on a better diet plan.

In three months after working out regularly and eating healthier, I started feeling much better. I felt more relaxed, my self-esteem and confidence came back, I was more energetic and happy. Working on bettering your mental health includes many things. It’s like trying to build a house with just a hammer, it’s impossible. You need a saw, nails, ladders, and many other tools. So when you’re working on your mental health you can’t just expect to go to counseling and feel better, or just take anti-depressants and be healed. You need to utilize many tools. I’ve found success in mixing working out, counseling, meditating, and reading self-help books. I no longer take anti-depressants but do believe that they can help.

Through this long journey, my friend Alex and I decided to start a clothing brand called Vital Apparel to encourage other people to live a physically active life. We both saw how much working out did for my mental health and wanted to share our story and help break the stigma that surrounds mental health. The more we talk about our mental health the more it’ll become normalize and the more comfortable people will be talking about it. We donate parts of our profits to further mental health research and we’ve been able to donate all 18 months that we’ve been in business. Together we can break the stigma!

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