RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Finding fitness brought Michele Santiago back from the brink of suicide -- and she's telling all about it in the August issue of Shape Magazine.
The co-owner of The Underground Trainers (profiled in an earlier Daily Voice story HERE ) writes how she became depressed early on in her marriage. As the months went on and the tension rose, she started to feel "off."
"White noise filled my mind, I couldn't focus, and I didn't want to leave my house or do things I used to enjoy," writes the Rutherford resident.
"I didn't realize I was depressed. At the time, all I could think was that I was drowning and no one could see it.
"I felt utterly lost and alone. This was when the suicidal thoughts started."
Finding fitness, first with home apps and then with pole dancing, helped. The more she worked out the more she began to see tiny little sparks of her old self.
A good sweat, she soon discovered, turned off the noise in her brain and helped her find clarity and peace in what had become a very tumultuous life.
Fast forward to now and her life as a personal trainer.
Being honest -- and so public -- about her journey -- Santiago started exercising as a way to get her husband to think of her as pretty again -- has been extremely difficult.
But as someone who tries to help others in their lives -- getting in shape is physical as well as mental -- she knew talking about her struggles could help others.
True to form, family, friends and clients have been immensely supportive since the Shape article came out.
"I knew I wasn't alone in what I was going through, but listening to others courageously tell their story put it in perspective," she said.
"Sharing my story was about helping others, and based on the sentiment expressed since then, I have done just that and hope my story continues to do so."
Go HERE for the full Shape article.
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