by MELISSA DOSS
You might wonder why there is an article about mental illness on a CrossFt blog. The truth is that about 1 in 5 of Americans ages 18 and up suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in a given year.1 While mental illness isn’t a sexy topic, it is a topic too close to my heart to not write about. I was that 1 in 5. So today, I’m putting myself out there and sharing my story in hopes that it will help save someone’s life.
A Great Loss
A little over four months ago, I lost one of my best friends to suicide. She was one of the strongest women that I’ve ever known and a fellow CrossFit lover. She could deadlift and bench press a house, had a great job, was finishing her degree, and was breathtakingly beautiful. From the outside, it looked like she had it all. Unbeknownst to everyone close to her, Becky was suffering from depression and PTSD and had been for over 12 years. She was really the first person with whom I ever discussed my past eating disorder in depth, and while she shared some very personal information with me regarding her past, never once did she mention how much she was struggling or her PTSD. If she did, I would have tried everything to help her, tried to save her. I still think about this every day. I look for clues but will never have the answers.
Since her death, the amount of people who have opened up to me about their mental health has been astounding. Terrifying yet astounding. Even with my past, until Becky, I was so naïve to the issue of mental illness. I was still ashamed and embarrassed about opening up. About exposing my (many!) imperfections. I was afraid that people would judge me. What I’ve realized is that I don’t care if people judge me. If my realness can help save the life of another, it is so worth it. Besides, if people judge me (or anyone) because of their past or present, they aren’t worth your or my time anyway.