Sunday Stories: Allison Ekonomakos

Sunday Stories is a series that showcases individuals who overcame some of their toughest times by focusing on fitness & wellness. We're honored to share with you Allison's Story:

 

Mental illness has always been in my life, presenting itself in various shapes, sizes, and colors. I personally believe we're all surrounded by it, but have an inability to recognize it as such. We often mistake the mental illness in our environments (whether internal or external) for weakness, inability to perform, laziness, sensitivity.. the list is endless. We live in a world of misdiagnosed and misunderstood mental illness. If a doctor misdiagnosed a broken wrist with a sprained finger and then began treatment on the finger, the wrist would never be healed. Similarly, our misdiagnosis and "mistreatment" of mental illness with drugs, alcohol, food, even other people, has left many unhealed.

Fortunately, I was blessed with a presence in my life that taught me first how to identify and recognize mental illness, but secondly how to use my body, my physical health, to strengthen my mind, my mental health. Physical activity has thus remained an outlet for me to simultaneously heal and grow. To deal with life's current hardships while better preparing me for future ones that will inevitably come. The other vices we turn to for comfort in times of need will provide that comfort, though temporarily. I've found physical activity to be both a cure and a preventive measure; a present solution focused on future healing. 

The intertwining of mind and body, and their capacity to affect one another is largely underrated, unknown, or ignored. However, because I was blessed with the love and wisdom of a beautiful soul in understanding that connection, it has become so important for me to pay it forward and introduce others to the journey of mental and physical wellness. To me, the term "wellness" encompasses the strength, fluidity, and functionality of both the mind and the body that I hope to both accomplish in myself and inspire in others.