Demi Lishman Testimony

Leah Casciano

I always had an excessive nature even as a kid; I remember turning light switches on and off fourteen times before I could leave a room, push coasters in two inches from each corner of the coffee table, and counted all the silver cars on our street every morning.

At 14 I developed an eating disorder which was all-consuming in every aspect of my daily life. I missed out on every social event, every date, every first kiss I should have had with someone because instead, I was too busy counting calories on the back of a box of raisins. I struggled with this for years, and even during the aftermath of my recovery, my need for control cascaded into immense bouts of anxiety and depression.

From 18 to 22 I coped with this new level of suffering by finding solace in alcohol. I drank anything I could get my hands on and wouldn't stop until I was black out drunk - I just didn't want to feel anymore. I had simply jumped from one excessive habit to another.

I met my now fiance shortly after; the first year of our relationship was rocky to say the least. There were countless nights of tears and panic attacks, mornings in which I didn't have the stomach to get out of bed and moments I was so medicated I couldn't remember a conversation we had five minutes prior.

I joined a local gym in a last ditch attempt at getting out of the house. I was anxious and self-conscious. I met a group of people that were really into Cross-Fit, which was totally foreign to me at the time. I spent my morning session with them and it turned out that most of them were dealing with something in their lives, and this way of life had completely saved them.

A year and a half on and my life has completely altered since that day. I workout every day now, whether it's cross-fit or weight training or long distance running (anything to get the endorphin's going!) even on a rest day I read through Mental Kilter to give me that boost of emotional motivation. I don't battle with myself anymore, I compete. I compete to be stronger, healthier, and most of all, happier than I was yesterday. Heck I don't even diet anymore!

I was recently hired as a personal trainer at a local gym - if you'd have told me two years ago that I'd have gone from suicidal substance abuse to waking up every morning to help people be the best version of themselves possible, and loving it in the process, well you'd have heard my laugh from England.

Just when I thought I had exhausted all of my options, Cross-Fit saved my life.