Behind Carley's Mind

     My mental health journey or awareness began in college. It was a time of growth. I was studying Exercise Science/Kinesiology. This meant that while I not only was required to work at the gym, I also was taking classes there too involving me teaching group exercise and personally training student clients.

It wasn’t until I was studying with like-minded individuals that I began comparing myself. There was almost an unspoken standard of what a personal trainer should not only look like but what they should be doing outside of work as well..i.e eating healthy and focusing on what goes into their mouth.

I guess for me, that’s when it started. I began watching every little thing that I ate and if I ate something that I didn’t feel good about mentally, I would work out extra hard the day after. It was this guilt and imbalance between mind and body, food and exercise.

I didn’t start to realize what was, in actuality, an eating disorder in the form of orthorexia until I had friends and family state their caring concerns about what they were seeing. All I could think about constantly was “is this healthy?”, “will I gain weight from this?” and of course the “will I have time for the gym or a run tomorrow if I enjoy myself tonight?”.

So after I graduated, I began taking baby steps which included me being vocal about my thoughts to those I trust and it really relieved a huge mental weight I didn’t want to admit I was carrying. I started slowly practicing intuitive eating instead of restriction and really listened to my body whether it wanted to exercise or rest. I wanted to use exercise as a way of self-care, not self-hate. I’m a nurse and I want to practice what I preach to my patients that physical health and mental health go hand-in-hand. To this day, it’s still something I am working through, but I can honestly and proudly say that my mental health is taking the forefront above anything.

Everyone has their own struggles and that doesn’t make them weak. Mental health is so very important for all around health and I’m happy to have the space and people in my life to be vocal about what I’m going through. ITS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY! ❤️


Carley B.

Orange County, California

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