It was 2 a.m. It was my senior year at Sacramento State. I was sleeping in the garage. I was cold. I was unhappy. I was depressed. I was depressed because I hated sleeping in a room so cold, and so cluttered. I was depressed because I hated my reality. I was depressed because I was getting closer to graduation, and I didn’t know how my life was going to play out after my education. I was having trouble sleeping because of my anxiety. I wasn’t at peace. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t myself. I remember waking up crying because of my anxiety and depression. I remember waking up sweating in a room so cold. I remember waking up wishing I could go back to sleep and hoping I could wake up with acceptance, with positivity, and with peace. It was one of the worst and uncertain times of my life.

I had just started Crossfit. I was new. I was eager. I was anxious to learn and get better. It brought me an hour of happiness. It brought me an hour of growth. It brought me an hour of sweat, and peace. Peace from my reality. Peace from my depression. Peace from my negative mental state. I’d get there early. I’d leave there late. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go back to my environment. I didn’t want my workout to end. I wanted to sleep there. I wanted to live there. I didn’t know that it would turn out to be what it is for me today, but I kept going. No matter how sad I was. No matter how “busy” I was. No matter how broke I was. No matter how much anxiety I had. I was there. Ready to grow. Ready to prosper. Ready to build.

I drove by the gym and garage I used to sleep at in college the other day. It felt dark. It felt cold. I felt pain. Pain from within. Pain from anguish. Pain from regret. Pain from life’s uncertainty…I also felt the light. I felt the light glisten through my skin as I drove by and made eye contact with the garage that left me with so much despair. It felt hot. I felt at peace. Peace from within. Peace from anguish. Peace from a moment in time. Thankful for the memories. Thankful for the lessons. Thankful for the moment. A moment that can bring you and I together to share a story. A story about pain. A story about perseverance. A story about hope and happiness.

Fitness can be a powerful way to cope with depression, anxiety, and other negative instances in our lives. Crossfit did that for me and more. It has given me a career. It has given me purpose. It has given me more happiness in the last 2 years of my life than I could have ever imagined. I know it’s hard. I know it can be dark. I know it can be lonely…but, there is light. There is support. There is happiness…there is one life.