Barbells & BPD

Matt Gardner

By Matt Gardner,

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I have always been angry, frustrated and often have outbursts of rage. It all stems from being given up as a child, pushed around until finally I found a home. The damage was done. I was beaten and abused for most of my youth. The fire inside finally came out.

After years of bullying and abuse I finally snapped. I was 12 years old when I lost who I was. I was lying, hiding and fighting my way through life. Pretending to live as different people around different crowds to fit in while inside slowly my mind was screaming inside the four walls of my head.

Fast forward. Many years have past of repeating the cycle loosing most friends I made along the way as I could not uphold the fake people I was creating so would eject myself before my cover was blown. A life I wish upon nobody. Lonely surrounded by people who knee absolutely nothing about the turmoil swimming inside me.

I was training in many forms of martial arts to try and get the anger out of me. Almost enjoying the pain as to me it felt I deserved it. It worked for a while but I was drinking negatively and combining that with skills I was learning was turning me into a dangerous person. Would pick fights with anyone for almost anything as a way to prove my “manliness” the alpha male I tried to create. The version of myself I despise the most. (But I had to go through that stage to be where I am today)

I was 26 years old with a beautiful daughter I had every weekend a job a big group of friends and it was with all this I lost the will to carry on. I snapped again but this time not with anger with defeat. I couldn’t go on not knowing myself and the people that I grew closest to knowing nothing at all about me. I decided to take an overdose. I thought that was the only way out so I grabbed all my pills and alcohol and I drank and popped until I collapsed. I was rushed to hospital after a friend found me. I survived and woke up the next day.

"This day I refer to as the greatest day of my life!"

It was the day I truly realised just how short life is and how it was time to stop living a lie and be true to who I was with openness and acceptance of who I am and try to help myself and in turn others around me.

I lost most of my friends but I gained clarity. For the first time in my life I knew who I was. I had recently in amongst my bad spell found some enjoyment in bodybuilding/powerlifting but through poor diet, drinking and no consistency I saw not a lot of improvement. The one thing I did take away and that I enjoyed about training was after pushing my body to the limit how I felt mentally. Almost partial relief so I decided to apply all that was missing and cleaned up food, stopped drinking there and then and vowed to train 5 days a week.

The results were outstanding! Not just physically did I look better but mentally I felt so much better. A year down the line and sticking to a relatively healthy diet no booze and training 5 days a week i was like a different person. I sought help from a GP and was prescribed medication and counselling this combination over time brings you the person I am today.

I have fitness to thank for saving me. All the clear decisions I have made the last 2 years have been allowed through finding how valuable fitness has impacted me. It is my daily therapy. Iron therapy! I openly now speak about my disorder and mental health in general to raise awareness and push how fitness was a defining and still is a defining part of my recovery and will be for the rest of my life.

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