There is a strong link between mental health and physical health. This months spotlight belongs to Mike Zasadny (@mike_aka_zadz). This is his story:

My life took a turn for the better after getting kicked out by my Biological Mom when I was 10.  I had just come back from a summer spent with my Dad, Step Mom and Brother and Sister.  It felt amazing to be with a complete family again. And after that incredible summer I knew my life would not turn out well for me if I didn’t leave my Mom. So I told her I was leaving to live with my Dad because it was healthier for me. My bags were packed for me and I was given a few quarters and pushed out the door.

My Mom had divorced for a 2nd time and this time things got bad. Mental and physical abuse ensued, not because she was mean, but because she was scared and battling mental health issues. Little did she know, she had already planted those seeds in my mind too!

Fast forward to 2015 after literally 12-15 years of hard partying, living day to day battling my one demons. I’m at my Sisters wedding and having a drink with my ex Step Dad when he makes a comment about about me living with him and my sisters because I was afraid to be alone with my Mom….I had no recollection of this ever happening…turns out there was more than physical and mental abuse that I went through. I had pushed those events so far back into my mind that I didn’t even remember them.

By 2015 my Daughter was 1 and I was having extremely bad anxiety. I worry about her so much that my mind will take me to places unimaginable when the anxiety hits. She could have a cold, bump her head or cry and instantly I’m fearing the worst!! I love her so much that the moment I feel helpless I get anxious. On a scale of 1-10 with ten being the worst, I’d sit at a 12, and when things are going good, I hover around a 5. Enough was enough. I started seeking help to learn why and how to cope. It turns out all the abuse, even when I couldn’t recall the event completely, resulted in these overwhelming feelings of wanting to protect my little girl from the people and things that I was subjected to. And worse, protect her from the “what if’s”. This is no way to raise a child.

All the drinking, partying, and running was my way with coping with the regret, anger, insecurity and helplessness that I felt as a result of what happened between the ages of 3-9.

I’m getting the help I need and I’m getting better.

Feb 2018, I took my first class at Champs Boxing Studio. It was Jelena’s class and I walked away for the first time in my life feeling calm inside. My mind was quiet. I was excited! I was refreshed! I felt empowered! Since that first class I’ve been hooked! It was Viet who in my first couple classes took some time to learn about me and a little about my past and I can honestly say it was the first time in my life where I felt I belonged. And now every Instructor at Champs takes time to make me feel welcome and at home!

For those 50 minutes hitting the bag my mind is quiet, the demons are pushed away and I can heal.  The results are more than just getting in better shape. My career is growing, I’m happier and healthier and it’s all because of the Champs Fam!

Jelena, Mel, Robbie, Viet, Farha, Dao, Brooklyn, Christina, Sarah and Ivan, I thank you! Thank you for giving me those 50 mins per day to let go and move on!

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