I was referred to Ability Bow just over a year ago, feeling depressed and very weak. My GP referred me in order to get out, socialize and to lift my spirits. Although I have Multiple Sclerosis, my depression was my main reason for my referral. Staying indoors and feeling like I didn’t have a reason to get out would make me depressed and became a cycle I couldn’t break. It was an organisation called Mood Movers that educated me on how depression works and how I could break the negative cycle through doing new things and having new goals.
Coming to Ability Bow gave me the motivation to fight the condition and be better. When I was first diagnosed I missed working; my daily routine of being a HGV driver had changed dramatically, it was easy to feel depressed or de-motivated. Attending the gym as well as my position with the MS society as Branch Chairman gives me a bit of that motivation and purpose back.
Although I’ve had symptoms of MS since my early 20’s I wasn’t diagnosed until my mid to late 30’s. I’m now 45.
My MS type is secondary progressive MS. Medication stabilises my condition but of course I go through bad patches where I can become unwell, fatigued or low; there’s good and bad days as you’d expect.
My routine with gym trainer Simohamed is mostly cardio once or twice a week (I really enjoy the boxing we do) and the other days I do weight training to keep my strength up. My legs give me the most problems and my left side is weaker than my right but it’s definitely stronger than when I first came here and I feel stronger in myself.
My goal is just to maintain where I am now and not decline, in terms of both fitness and keeping my mind challenged and active.
Something important to me about Ability Bow is that all the staff and gym members are non-judgmental; I never have to answer questions about myself or my condition unless I choose to talk about it, it’s a relaxed and very sociable place.
There are days when I don’t feel like doing anything but by making myself drop in to the gym I always feel better for doing so.