Why I'm proud of my best friend
She was the person I played Barbies and Disney princesses and Sailor Moon with. She was the one who made me get over my fear of Ursula, The Little Mermaid villain, when I was six or seven by holding a picture of the character next to my face until I looked at it. She was the one who I discussed the complexities of life, like Is Santa Claus real?
Later in life, Felicia was the first person I traveled overseas with and the first person I drank a beer with.
And she was the one person who made me not feel ashamed or alone after being diagnosed with anxiety and, together, we navigated the waters of being diagnosed with anxiety and depression.
We both took different routes to cope. For Felicia, this last year and a half, her workout routine and diet have helped her overcome depression, and her public journey on social media has inspired so many.
I know, personally, how easy it is, when you're depressed, to just binge watch Netflix while eating an entire box of pizza by yourself. But my best friend has worked so hard to kick depression's ass, and I have been so incredibly proud of her for working so hard to improve herself, both mind and body.
A couple weeks ago, I watched Felicia compete in a body building/figure competition. If you knew her before this journey, you would know how much she stepped out of her comfort zone by doing that. And, seeing her up on stage in her blue sequined bikini, I didn't just see strength and muscles. I saw the bravest person I've ever known. On that stage, she stood there as hope for every woman who has ever felt bad about herself or felt like giving up. It was like she was saying to everyone in the audience, by standing up there, that, no matter what you're going through, IT GETS BETTER!
If you're suffering from anxiety and/or depression (or even if you're not because it's not like it's ever bad to start being healthy), I would encourage you to take a page from Felicia's book and try exercise as an anti-depressant.
As Felicia said about her own weight loss journey – a statement which others could learn so much from – "When I was overweight, I was depressed and very inactive. I've always enjoyed being active but I let toxic relationships and my own self doubt get the best of me. Choosing to focus on my own self worth and fostering that love for an active lifestyle has brought happiness and security to my life. I wasted the life, abilities, and talents God gave me in those years that I didn't let my light shine."
"Surround yourself with people who will share in your joy, and support you through life's trials, but will also give you a kick in the ass and reality check when you begin to wallow in self-doubt.
Suck in the positive energies and eliminate the negativity!"