"The day I let my story out was the day my life turned around." - Fireside with Taylor
Updated: Aug 29, 2020
My name is Taylor Nichols, I’m 25, from Clifton Park, NY, and I am a personal trainer. Fitness and training has saved my life. I found my passion for fitness right out of college. College was the 4 hardest years of my life. I struggled academically, I drank 7 nights out of the week, and I fell into a deep depression as a result.
The night before what would’ve been my college graduation, I tried to commit suicide. But the truth of the fact was I actually wasn’t graduating because I had failed out. Rather than manning up and telling my parents I wasn’t going to graduate, I tried to overdose the night before my mixing alcohol and painkillers. I had no intentions of waking up. My parents found me the next morning asleep on the couch in excruciating pain. I was rushed to a hospital and eventually placed in a Rehab Center cut away from the world for a weekend. Following that weekend I was then placed on antidepressants, but quickly weened myself off as I became loopy and it just wasn’t me.
I spent the next couple years trying to figure out who I was and what made me happy. The only thing that I looked forward to daily was working out. It was my safe place. It was where I could escape everything. So I decided to pursue a training position as I loved fitness and it made me realize I love helping people. I began using my training platform to help others not only physically, but mentally by sharing my story.
Q.) How has mental health/illness impacted your life?
I am currently someone who deals with anxiety and depression and both of these drove me to eventually attempting to take my own life. These two things drove me to think that taking my own life would be easier than dealing with the consequences of failing out of college.
Q.) What are your positive outlets and how did you discover them?
For me, fitness and training have been the two biggest positive outlets. After college I worked at a chemical plant. After work I would spend 3 hours working out. I would go to Metabolic (the gym I currently train at – they offer 45 minute group classes) and then go to the YMCA afterwards to lift even more and sit in their sauna. Those 3 hours were the thing I looked forward to the most every day.
The longer I worked at the chemical plant, the more I realized that I became complacent with my job. So I decided to apply for a job as a trainer at Metabolic and they were hiring. I went in for a week to follow someone around to see if it was the right fit for me and I quickly learned how much it was a perfect fit for me. I had the ability to change people’s lives.
Q.) What inspired you to become a fitness trainer?
Helping people made me become a fitness trainer. There is no better satisfaction than helping someone achieve something they couldn’t do. It ultimately made me realize that I didn’t need a degree to make an impact in someone’s life and I wasn’t going to let my past define me.
Q.) Has being a fitness trainer played a huge part in overcoming the struggles you've experienced throughout life?
Absolutely. Being a fitness trainer created this platform where I could help other people for the better both physically and mentally and in turn this helped my mental health.
Q.) A common misconception is that physical health is much more important than mental health, what is your opinion on that?
I think it is a big misconception. Your mind can ultimately take over your life. It can take over your actions, your energy, your mood, and your physical health!! Your mind Is the foundation of you.
Q.) How do you feel that social media is impacting people’s mental health?
Honestly, I think social media negatively impacts people’s mental health. People post these picture-perfect lives on social media, but very few people actually talk about their struggles. We idolize these models and celebrities, but truth is they only show the good things going on in their lives. They don’t talk about their thoughts or what goes on in their head.
Q.) What is something that someone has said to you that has always stuck with you when overcoming hard times?
I can remember the first person I told that I tried to commit suicide. It was my brother the morning after I tried. We were sitting on the couch in my room and I can remember crying and saying, “What about us? We’re your family. Did you think we didn’t care?” And that stuck with me. Every time I am going through a hard time I think back to this conversation and it helps to remind me that my family loves me and that no matter what they’re here for me if I need anything.
Q.) What advice would you give someone that is struggling?
You see it everywhere but “it is ok to not be ok,” because truthfully there are a lot of people out there who are, or have been through similar things. However, some people don’t know how to come out and say “I’m not ok.” I personally didn’t know how to tell someone I was struggling. I love my family and am super close with them, but I couldn’t even tell them. It’s a hard thing to do, but sometimes it makes the difference being able to tell people and to let things out. The day I let my story out was the day my life turned around for the better. It felt like this big weight was being pulled off of my chest and had I been able to find help before hand or just was honest with my parents maybe I wouldn’t have tried to commit.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please contact 1.800.273.8255