Ben Edusei is a 31 year old wellness practitioner at Pulse Private Training Studios in Wellington. He spoke to Men’s Health about one of the most stressful times in his life, the physical symptoms that came with it, and how he eventually realised he was extremely stressed and managed to deal with it.
“Having been a personal trainer for over a decade, I know a thing or two about weight loss, getting ripped, gaining muscle, athletic performance and getting healthy. However, in 2012 my health and wellbeing took a turn for the worse after a dramatic year. Symptoms like rashes, fluctuating weight, low sex drive, fatigue, stomach issues, depression, brain fog…. you name it, I had it. Living with anxiety, mood swings and being physically sore all the time was my new norm. Puzzled with what was wrong with me, I went from being healthy to having major food sensitivities, suffering from adrenal fatigue and developing a really bad case of Candida (bacterial/fungal infection in my gut).
Medical tests, antibiotics, elimination diets and numerous trips to the doctors were getting me very limited success, feeling hopeless and desperate. It started to dawn on me that stress may be the catalyst to my rapidly declining health.
After this realisation, I decided to change my approach by looking at holistic health practices and became determined to figure out what was going on. From there, I found a functional health practitioner, an acupuncturist, an osteopath, and a psychologist/lifestyle coach. I also started to talk to my friends and family about what was going on. Gradually, this all helped me identify what it actually was that was crippling my life.
I was stressed and fatigued. I had relationship issues, visa problems, I was sleep deprived, I was suffering from grief as my father had passed away (which I wasn’t coping with), I was using steroids which made me look good but were destroying me internally causing other health issues, I was overusing prescription and non-prescription drugs, and I was drinking too much. Basically, I was drowning my problems in a sea of self-medication that was just compounding my symptoms and making my life worse.
By asking for help, I was eventually able to identify where to begin my healing process. I made myself accountable by committing to get healthy and in the process began studying holistic health that is now my passion. I created a stress management plan that prioritises health before aesthetics. I changed a lot of my unhealthy lifestyle factors, and tried to remove or at least reduce the unnecessary stresses in my life. I began meditating, eating organic foods, changing my fitness regime, resting, and started writing down my thoughts in a journal. And I learned to have fun again, and laugh.
I’m healthier now than I’ve been in several years. I’m slowly rebuilding my gut and adrenal health, and feeling a million times better than I was. I have now moved away from personal training and become a functional health and wellness coach.
I want other guys to know that it’s OK to ask for help. In my profession I find that men struggle to ask for help because we believe it makes us look inferior. Truth is, it takes a strong individual to admit their faults and a stronger person to actively change their life for the better. Addressing the stress by tackling it head on is my best advice. This means talking about your problems, adjusting your lifestyle habits, having fun, challenging yourself, and spending time with your friends and loved ones. It’s the best way to beat stress. #MenStartTalking”
Thanks for sharing your story Ben.
For more information on recognising and dealing with stress, visit the I WANT TO REDUCE MY STRESS section of our website.