The passion that saved her life.
Jane Curnow, 51, has lived with the mental illness since becoming estranged from her family after a troubled childhood. She survived two suicide attempts after battling addiction, and now says dedicating her life to bodybuilding helped her out of the depression.
She says she tried every traditional approach to her condition, including medication and therapy, but it wasn’t until she began competitive bodybuilding that she was able find a sense of true self-worth.
“On my 30th birthday I was depressed, on my 40th birthday I was suicidal and on my 50th birthday I declared my recovery to the world,” Ms Curnow told Daily Mail Australia. “I fell in love with my body and myself.”
It wasn’t until divorced for the second time that Jane’s life began to turnaround. She began working as a fitness model initially to drive her ego.
“I started out on this journey for all the wrong reasons. At the age of 46 I found confidence in my vanity. You teach people how to treat you by how you treat yourself, I couldn’t see my worth and was looking for it through other people.”
She says had she not found bodybuilding, she likely would not be here today.
“I did not want to see 50, I was going try (to commit suicide) again. Women hate their bodies, we spend so much time hating it and abusing it. I starved myself because I thought that was only thing I had going for me, she said. To get up on stage, that was the biggest turning point for me. My vanity was surging through my veins, I had to do it, I had to find the confidence I knew I didn’t have.”
She says the most influential figure in her transformation, both mentally and physically, is her old trainer Tom Hewett.
Despite what she was feeling below the surface, Tom helped Jane set goals and differentiate clouded thoughts from reality despite ignorance of her situation.
“He had no idea I was depressed, he had no idea how bad I was.”
In 2016, on her 50th birthday, Jane took to the stage for a competition that represented recovery. She wants anyone who is struggling with their own mental illnesses to “find their passion” and cautions them about the limitations of conventional treatment.
“Medication is not a cure. It’s a band-aid. Find your passion, find your self-worth, do what sets your soul on fire. If you can find your passion, and it took me till 46, we can all have some sort of passion in life that isn’t attached to kids or partners.”
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