The problems arose when my Equinox membership counselor/fitness fairy godmother was summarily fired.*
Suddenly, I was without a gym. This could not happen. I had a transformation challenge to complete, and I needed access to, at the very least, a complete set of dumbbells and a Smith machine!
I also couldn’t afford to pay for a summer membership to the University gym (which was open once again). So I did what I had to do: I got a second work study position, this time at the gym’s fitness desk.
Now I was waking up at 5 am, running to the gym, working out, running home, showering and flat ironing my unruly hair, biking to my Arts Initiative job on 125th, working a 9-5, biking back to campus, folding towels at the gym from 6-11, biking home, packing the following day’s meals, and then collapsing.
Did I mention that I was also living in an un-air-conditioned apartment in the middle of a heat wave?
I was hot, sweaty, frustrated, and exhausted. (Did I mention that it was hot? Because it was.) Everything in my life felt like a Herculean effort, and none of it worth expending the energy. I got so fed up, I went downtown and had a hairdresser cut all of my hair off so that I could sleep in a few more minutes and spend less time trying to dry my hair.
My psychologist gave up and referred me out to a psychiatrist. She (the psychiatrist) decided that, because I hadn’t responded well to depression medications in the past, I must have Bipolar II, which is basically bipolar disorder but without the mania. The medications she prescribed had some of the scariest side effects I’d ever seen listed on a pill bottle (and she actually had to monitor me to make sure I didn’t develop a deadly rash after a week). I stopped the drugs after two weeks anyway, because, frankly, if I was going to kill myself, I wanted it to be more poetic than “death by side effects.”
I was spinning out of control, calling my mother and father and crying hysterically every single day–and threatening a lot more than death by side effects. The only thing keeping me going was the promise of becoming a personal trainer at the end of the summer.
But, finally, I decided that I had had enough. I could be a personal trainer anywhere. I could be a fitness model anywhere. Since I already knew in my heart that I wasn’t going to be going back to school the following semester, there was nothing tying me to New York City anymore.
I decided to take the medical leave of absence. I would go back to Florida and live with my mother. I would get help, get my personal trainer certification, and make a brand new life for myself.
I took a deep breath and called my mom.
*I assume I wasn’t the only person he was allowing to slip through the door…