How Fitness Saved Me from Myself – Part 2

Daniel Munroop continues to open up about his struggle with poor mental health and how fitness played a part in saving him.

This is Life

I dropped out of university in my second year. I had no interest in the subject and no interest in life. Relationships became broken and I fell into a dark depression. I felt like I couldn’t burden my friends with this feeling as they were grieving the loss of a close friend. I couldn’t tell anyone that I wanted to end all the pain – this is when the self-harming began.

That developed into attempts at taking my life through overdoses and a point where I was standing at the edge of this castle in Old Portsmouth. Whilst all this was going on. I was bouncing from job to job, seeking a new career or something to give me a reason not to hurt myself. I was in no mental state to even be working.

Pills upon pills and a bottle of alcohol – I was sure this time would work. It was after this final attempt that I knew I had to call my family. I called my mum and she just told me to come home.

2017, I moved back to London.


Image by Nomads Blogs and used under Creative Commons License.

The Present…

After coming back from university, life was different. I was broke, with nothing, and living with my parents. Every day I was in the house, I felt more and more like a disappointment.

I applied for every job I found and went to multiple interviews in many different fields. It was beginning to feel like being back in Portsmouth, going job after job, in environments that further affected my mental health ironically, leading to being let go due to this. The cycle would repeat itself for another 10 jobs. I could barely make it through a 3-month probation period. 23-years-old with a CV longer than this article! That was a red flag for pretty much every job or interview I went to.

How is it possible for someone to not go back to their darkest place through constant rejection? For me, it was personal development. I could go on, because I was spending more of my time on myself and my mind, before I started to plan and execute my future. Wake up, go for a walk, smoke my weed, listen to my audio books. I did several call centre jobs, but always kept my mind open to finding my true path.

I started the gym consistently around November 2018 and had no idea how far I’d come. Due to all the drugs and lack of appetite from depression, I was severely underweight. Making it as far as I have is honestly my biggest achievement to date. I can say if I did not find this opportunity, I may not be here today.

Within a month, life started to look different. I was keeping consistent, eating healthier and continuing to listen to my audiobooks. I then came across an ad to become a personal trainer and something felt right. For the first time, I felt a connection to something and saw a future. I was making progress and people were noticing how I managed to transform my body, but more importantly, I was realising that maybe I could use my journey to help inspire others. I studied and knew I had a mission to help people in a different way to your traditional counselling.

Currently I’m working on introducing several projects targeted at using fitness goals to support those suffering with mental health issues. It’s hard to put your whole story into 1000 words, but if you take one thing from this article, it’s that sometimes in life you need to take a step back and remember your mindset is important to the point it can influence your actions. I have seen the pain and destruction mental health can have on a person.

Hopelessness can become overwhelming.

Depression and mental health issues can affect anyone, at any time, but we need to ensure we are openly talking about it and encouraging each other to try new methods of dealing with it.

I go by DAAM Fitness. DAAM is my initials, but also stands for Determination, Aspiration, Achieve and Motivate. This is a model I developed to overcome my depression and the good thing is you can start it at any time. I’m building my fitness brand around these values.

Determination was my starting place or reflection place. Do I want to fall into that dark place again or am I determined to do what it takes to get out?

Aspiration involved me setting goals – no matter how big or how small. My first one was to wake up at 9 every morning. Being in a dark place, it’s very easy to lack energy and not want to do anything at all. But by starting with small goals, you can start your journey out of that place.

Achieve is an important step. Most people stop here, but what you do once you achieve your goal is celebrate and share with people. You reached whatever your goal was, so be proud!

Finally, Motivate – such an important step. By motivating and showing it’s possible, you have the power to encourage someone to start their own personal development journey and learn to overcome their mental health issues.

I was hesitant about writing this for a number of reasons. However, over the past few days, I decided the pros outweighed whatever doubts I had. This is a story that not only affected me but many others around me. No one should feel like they should take their own life.

The mission is to use fitness to show people that they have what it takes to battle mental health head on!

Daniel is a personal trainer, who uses fitness to spread positive energy and inspire those with mental health issues, and has recently partnered with Herbalife Nutrition.  Stay updated with what he’s getting up to by following him on Instagram (@daam_fitness).

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