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By Member of the Month
With great JOY, we are pleased to announce Valerie from our Coquitlam location as July’s Member of the Month. Valerie’s journey and encouragement is an inspiration to us all. Enjoy!
Hello fellow LIVE WELL members, new members and especially people that are considering becoming LIVE WELL members. My name is Valerie Langford.
Joining LIVE WELL was a big part of my master plan of breaking out of the small, confining, enclosed, perceived-safe and most often very lonely life I created for myself over many years living and raising my family in North Vancouver. I had been living with anxiety!
I was definitely living in the sense of “breathing,” but experiencing debilitating feelings of lack of self-worth, no confidence, fear, dread and panic attacks, especially if venturing out of my “comfort zone” which was getting smaller and smaller. I would experience horrible, scary panic attacks which eventually and sadly just became normal for me.
I went through a barrage of medical tests physically and mentally over the years looking for the “magic” answer as to why this was happening to me? Especially for my heart because fast, rapid heart rates go hand-in-hand with panic disorder. I became extremely heart-aware to the point of becoming obsessed with checking my blood pressure multiple times a day and checking my pulse point on my wrist constantly. The fear was consuming me! Exercise was out of the question because it would naturally elevate my heart rate. Back then, an elevated heart rate would scare me into panic mode. I so, so hated the feeling of my fast heartbeat and still struggle a little if I let the thought get to me.
Exactly one year ago I made multiple changes in my life. I moved to Coquitlam after living 35 years in my little secure bubble. I left my childcare job of 27 years, another very safe, small and secure part of my life. This move was very, very hard and done in a state of very strong physical feelings and emotions. I was expanding my world much larger to move closer to my sons and grandson.
I had to keep moving forward when I saw an ad for the opening of a new LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic in Coquitlam. It was also right in my comfort zone as it was right across the street from me. I really liked the idea of medically-supervised exercise because of my obsession with my heart (which by the way, is strong and healthy) so I signed up and became a Founding Member of LIVE WELL Coquitlam in September 2018. It was so hard at first coming to my exercise sessions. I would feel the panic as soon as I woke up and anticipated going. I felt so anxious that my blood pressure and heart rate were usually elevated but I kept coming to my sessions taking comfort in the reassurance of the amazing, supportive LIVE WELL team and other members.
Eventually after a couple of months of perseverance I became much more comfortable with feeling my raised heart rate and as my confidence has grown with seeing the results of a stronger, fit body, lower blood pressure and most of all a positive mental outlook, my life has dramatically changed. LIVE WELL has helped me to become STRONG mentally and physically which is helping me to open doors to a much bigger world in my life that I didn’t know was even possible one year ago. Because of LIVE WELL and the changes to my health and fitness I have had the confidence to continue my career in the childcare field by obtaining a new job. I love and enjoy my volunteer work through the City of Coquitlam and plan on purchasing my forever home here in Coquitlam.
Most of all I can now be a role model for my two sons, family and the people I meet in my life. It is such an honour to be LIVE WELL’s Member of the Month. But to be honest, I still doubted myself by wondering why me? There are so many members deserving of this honour. But then I realized this was my “old” way of thinking and it will always be there waiting in the dark, so to speak. I have to say to myself: “Yes I am worthy of this.”
I have worked hard to get to where I am today! My growth will continue and so will yours. Please continue your journey with the help and support of the amazing LIVE WELL team, members and owners. There may be days you don’t want anything to do with exercise but because of the care, dedication, feeling of belonging and support you will leave your session with a happy, positive frame of mind and strong physical body. Keep coming and keep up the great work!!!!
Valerie, you are worthy and deserve this recognition! Thank you for sharing your story. The LIVE WELL Community is behind you with every step and cheering you on. We are honoured to be apart of your master plan.