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David tells his story

"Exercise saved my life"

My mental health went through the floor due to life changes and experiencing losses of people close to me. I initially used alcohol to block out the pain and I have been managing my depression and anxiety for about 3 years now and the way I now cope with my problems is to do physical exercise. This helps to stimulate my brain and lift the problems that I have. I have been diagnosed with 5 lesions on my brain and 2 on my neck. They were worried that I might have MS and after an MRI scan at the hospital I have been diagnosed ADEM. Life was hell and I was very lonely.

Crisis support
I contacted RAMH for crisis support and also did counselling and through working on my coping strategies I was then inspired to get involved in football.

This illness was caused by infection in my body, in my case it was my rain and my spinal cord, there is no cure. It can take weeks, months or years to go away, if ever. Hence I started playing 5 a side 3 times per week, once with RAMH on a sat in paisley and the other 2 x at the kibble in Paisley. I also run every Thursday, they are a great team of people, if I hadn’t joined these organisations I don’t think I would be here. I have built friendships so I have social connectedness now.

I did seriously think about ending my life and if it wasn’t for RAMH helping me to keep going and doing exercise I don’t think I would be here.

Before exercise you experience the symptoms of illness but after exercise they are relieved.

Exercise saved my life
But in my case exercise saved my life. I could have given up but I said no, I want to live, I want to get better and here I am still fighting and I won’t be beaten. Physical activity is a great way of increasing serotonin (happy chemicals) and this can also be good for other people. Even if you only walk 10 minutes per day it can make a major difference to you and your health. Healthy body healthy mind.

I now use exercise instead of medication
I used to be on sertraline but I now use exercise instead of medication. I went to the doctor and told him that it wasn’t working for me and voiced my concerns and we gradually reduced the medication with me monitoring the effects of this.

I was told my whole life not to express myself but I can now express myself through exercise.

Football, running, swimming.

I also use an APP called mindshift and you use this to keep a diary which tracks mood and I use the guided relaxation which helps.

Thank you for listening to me, I hope that it will help people to feel better about themselves.