“” My mind started to feel different. “”

“It is well with me”

Last year when I turned 40, I had this phrase tattooed on my wrist. I’ve struggled with depression my entire adult life. Not the “I’m feeling a little sad today” type but the “my kids and husband would be better off without me” type. Added to that were obsessive thoughts and anxiety.

On my 30th birthday, I almost attempted to end my life by driving into a cement barrier on a major highway in New York. Through divine intervention, I made it home and finally sought medical treatment. Through a combination of medicine, counseling and exercise, I learned to live effectively despite my depression.

Running was always my exercise of choice. However, in order to continually make progress, I found that my runs had to get longer and longer. In 2014 I ran the Richmond marathon. During the training process, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and a lung disease. During the actual race, I developed a stress fracture in my foot.

My cardiologist and pulmonologist both advised me to find a different form of exercise. I joined the gym next to my job and an awesome personal trainer introduced me to heavy weightlifting. Although I enjoyed the workouts, I found it all too easy to find excuses not to go. Eventually I stopped going altogether.

I came across CrossFit Bezel 6 months ago. The short but intense workouts help me build strength and condition my heart and lungs, without overtaxing them. In the past 6 months I have made significant progress – not only during the workouts, but also in my daily activities.

Although I joined CrossFit Bezel to improve my physical body, I started to notice something else. My mind started to feel different. When I finish a workout, I get a strong feeling of accomplishment, peace and renewed mental energy. I discussed this with my doctor who suggested a trial period without one of my medications. (Three prior attempts to wean from this particular drug lead to the return of suicidal thoughts). This time it worked.

I expected to have physical benefits from CrossFit. In fact, I’m no longer pre-diabetic and my body is changing as I build muscle. What I didn’t expect was CrossFit to have such a huge impact on my mental health. Exercise is one component. But the love and support I get from the coaches and other members at CrossFit Bezel is what made the biggest impact.

Written by CrossFit Bezel member Aubrey Bailey


This was originally written on 6/2/2017.

Be on the lookout for Aubrey’s update on her most recent 6 months here at CrossFit Bezel.


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