I was a physically and mentally abused child. I have a certain naive demeanor that made me a constant target of bullies (and robbers). I didn't know how to label it back then but I've been afraid of gatherings of people for as long as I can remember. This condition gave me a natural aversion to team sports. Though I prefer reading and drawing as my main activities, I also enjoyed certain physical activities that DO NOT involve being with a lot of people such as long walks alone and mountain climbing in my teens.
Fast forward to college. I was a naive and impressionable 16yrs old and on my own for the very first time in the big city and away from family. I lived in a small apartment cramped with college kids right next to the University. When I say small apartment, I mean 3rd world small (this happened in the Philippines).
We have a big drug problem in the Philippines and that led to the rise of the current president whose name became entwined with extra judicial killings of users and pushers back home. With that said, more than half of the students in my apartment were meth users. I tried it one time and I was instantly hooked. It made me feel less anxious and depressed. I felt happier when I was on it. I didn't know it then but I was practically self medicating. I kept the habit for 3 years until I began using my college funds for it and I got kicked out of school. I felt extreme shame for my family because I was an honor student before college, and being the last male in the clan to hold the family name, I felt that they have high aspirations for me.
Fast forward to 2013. My kids number 3 and 4 (twins) were born a day after my mother-in-law lost her battle to breast cancer. 3rd major death in the family within 4 years- first my father-in-law due to sepsis, and then my dad also due to sepsis which led to multiple organ failure. The following year my grandma who I'm really close with passed away too. My marriage was deteriorating at a very rapid rate at this point in time.
One day my left eye began producing tears as if I was crying on just one side of my face. It went on for 7 days until I made a decision to speak to my doctor about it. I was referred to an eye specialist who found my condition peculiar but otherwise nothing was wrong with me physically. After some interviews and test that followed, my doctor concluded that I was having physical manifestations of a mental ailment. I think this was the point where I opened up and spoke about the things that happened in my life. I was referred to a psychiatrist and I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I was prescribed medication which made me feel suicidal so I eventually ditched the meds and that's when I began my quest for more natural means of defeating my mental ailment.
I joined Krudar K2 around October last year, a local gym here in Toronto which is just about 20 minutes jog from where we live. My kids joined first, and then me and my wife followed. I have never played any sports in my life before except for Taekwondo back in gradeschool (I never went pass white belt). I was over 200 lbs smoker when I joined and I was supposed to sleep with a CPAP machine to help me breathe at night.
Immersing myself in Freemasonry and training Muay Thai with my family transformed my life at a point when I thought personal change was too late. Here's my journey in videos.
My efforts gave me a tremendous boost in confidence. The feeling that I will be able to physically defend myself and my family is a priceless sensation. With that said, I continue to fight my battle with anxiety, and my business and personal dealings continue to get affected by it every once in a while but now my eyes are opened and have a good view of the right path.
In case you're interested in reading more about my personal journey - depression, drug addiction, salvation via Muay Thai- check out my post on /r/fitness from March- https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/4bau2q/is_it_too_late_to_get_in_shape_i_thought_so_but/