Shannon Artz

– Strength doesn’t come from what you CAN do, strength comes from OVERCOMING the things you once thought you could not-

I have officially completed my first year at Crossfit Somerville and I can not express the gratitude I have towards everyone. I have found family, a place where on my darkest days I can go so I don’t have to be alone. I joined Crossfit Somerville because I was extremely overweight, and at a loss for what to do. I had tried everything from going to the gym, to different fad diets and even resorted to starving myself from time to time, and nothing was working. A few years prior to joining crossfit I was diagnosed with PTSD and learned over the years that when I became triggered I would cope by eating. Eating gave me the sense of control that was taken from me, and I knew that it needed to change. I needed to replace the unhealthy coping mechanisms I used to survive, with something that was going to help me overcome my fear, my past, and help me face my PTSD head on instead of using something like food to cover it up until I was triggered again.

So I woke up one morning ready to change. I was ready to take charge and become healthy, and there I found myself standing outside of Crossfit Somerville. I walked up to the only guy around, who was so tall and had this crazy kick ass hair, and asked him if he worked there. He answered with “well sorta” and I didn’t know what to say, what did well sorta mean?! It took me months to find out that this man, was actually JT, the owner of Crossfit Somerville. We can just say I was a little more than embarrassed. JT talked me into joining my first class that day. The coach, Nick, went out of his way to show me how to do the things the others were doing. I walked out of there on shaky legs knowing I was going to be sore for days. But in that moment I had the most self respect and pride I had had in myself in a very long time.

Life with PTSD makes things a little more interesting, I second guess myself, and am always the last person to believe in myself. There are days I cry non stop, and days where I just shut down. I find that these days, where my PTSD is at its peak are the days where its most important for me to be at crossfit. Its hard, I struggle getting there, and most days I am exhausted before the workout itself because of the battle I’m fighting inside. I’m almost always wearing some form of super hero shirt, because it reminds me that I am my own hero and I am winning a war within myself. Every time I step into that box, I am winning.

I have lost 40 pounds and 10 inches from my waist since joining crossfit, but I have gained so much more than I ever expected. I gained friends and family, and more than anything else I have gained self worth. I look in the mirror at the end of the day and I know I’m doing the best that I can. There will be days that I don’t complete a workout because I have a panic attack halfway through but the coaches remind me that its okay, because for that day, at that moment that was the best I could do and I did it. That is what keeps me going back, what keeps me fighting this battle. The encouragement, and acknowledgement from the coaches and my friends around me that I am doing my best. And on the days where I do complete a workout it means a little bit more to me, there’s this inexplicable feeling of overwhelming pride that I did it, I did something that I thought I couldn’t!

I don’t know where I would be without Crossfit Somerville, and all the amazing people that have come along with it. I was sliding down a slippery slope and these people, my crossfit family, pulled me back from it. I struggle everyday to stay above water, and when I miss a WOD I have people from this community checking in on me, because at Crossfit Somerville its not about the money or the brand, its about making sure the people around you are okay.