I am Thomas James Fowler. Born and raised in Coventry, West Midlands in the UK.
I come from a broken home ( insert X Factor sob story music ). I am 32, married the woman of my dreams and together we have two amazing little girls… and a little doggo.
The dog is probably my favourite (joke!), as she is the only one who listens to me.
I am right handed and left footed, useless at football, but about average at rugby. I can throw a golf ball further than I can hit one, so I don't get invited out onto the course very often.
I am also the proud founder and owner of the business Mind Your Fitness and you may also know me as The Fitness & Mindset Coach.
THOMAS’ STORY – OVERCOMING CHILDHOOD TRAUMA THROUGHT BALANCED MENTAL AND PHYISCAL FITNESS
Let me start by saying I am a flawed person, I have my good days and I have my bad days.
But over the years on my life journey to date, I have learned and gathered together a collection of skills and tools that have helped me look after my physical and mental health. Hopefully some of which can help and support others too.
To go back to the start, my parents’ marriage broke down when I was around 6 years old. There was constant fighting, arguing and general negativity all around, and my dad left home that year.
For a few years, I didn't have much time for my dad, as my biological mother had fed me lies and hate about him, which I believed, because well why wouldn't I? I was a child and very vulnerable.
I was raised by a woman who would self-harm, drink excess alcohol, and subject me to physical and mental abuse, from the ages of 7 to 15. There were some really dark times.
I would get the most horrible pains in my chest and stomach when I was younger and it was like that for years, but when I look back over it now, it was a form of anxiety.
This carried into secondary school. Which I hid very well. There were a handful of teachers that had spotted there were issues, and they gave me a lot of slack. Because I was the class clown, it gave me attention. It wasn't the right attention, but it was the attention I was craving.
Just after my 15th birthday things took a very dark turn, sh*t hit the fan.
As a consequence I was removed from living with my biological mother and thankfully moved in with my Dad, step-mum and step-brother.
I was initially always at loggerheads with my dad, we are VERY alike, and from that we clashed when living together. BUT, I built the most beautiful relationship with my step-mum. Who from that day and until the day I die will be my MUM. I needed a maternal figure in my life I think more than a male role model, and she surpassed that role and has, ever since.
For the next few years I was not living a healthy lifestyle to say the least. Poor eating habits, drinking too much alcohol, taking drugs, generally being a D*CK.
All the while, hiding my emotions and the pain I was feeling. A lot of rage and pain would come out when drinking alcohol. I was super emotional and didn't know how to control it, IT WAS CONTROLLING ME!
Throughout this time, I would be in and out of the gym, that was a real constant in my life. I loved training but never really gave it 100%. For a while I bounced around in different jobs, but I also studied in fitness instruction and personal training and qualified when I was 21.
At that stage I did not pursue a career in fitness due to other circumstances, IRONIC as it is part and parcel of who I am today.
In my twenties I had my first daughter, and did not feel ready to be a dad yet. I worked awful shifts, and rather than spending time with the family, I wanted to go to the gym and justified that it was keeping me ‘sane’.
The problem was, I was working on my physical health, but my mental health was declining at an alarming rate. I had about 10 years of pain bottled up and ready to explode at any second with no real regard for the consequences. I needed help and I needed it FAST. I was a ticking time bomb.
My girlfriend at the time ( now wife), stuck with me and helped me come to some senses and encouraged my to speak with my doctor.
Over the next few years I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), anxiety and depression. I am fortunate that my depression comes in waves and can now be managed better.
I had been on the waiting list for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for a while, so I took matters into my hands, and I studied it and practised it on myself.
This has helped me to see the value in holistically investing in my physical health, by training hard, eating well, not drinking alcohol, and making a conscious effort to rest and listen to what my mind needs as well as body.
Fitness had ultimately saved me. I have had some really low points in my life. I have wanted to not be here. Not having pain, heart ache, bad feelings and thoughts. But every day that I am above ground is a GREAT day.
Using fitness as a positive tool in your life is incredible. You don't have to train just to meet aesthetic goals, use it to release endorphins (your happy hormones), to build your confidence, and to release pent up pressure and tensions.
One of the best feelings in the world is going into the gym and lifting more than you used to. To think, that's easy now. No it’s not easy, you're stronger!
Every time you do that, you add another chink into your armour. You grow and build in more strength and confidence.
I want to end by saying this, Steve Harvey said. “If you think you're in hell, keep pushing. Ain't nobody wanna stay in hell.”
You are not alone brothers.
If you are struggling with your mental and emotional health, and feeling lost, or you just need a shoulder to cry on., please feel free to get in touch, or make use some of some of the amazing charities out there like Mind, Samaritans and Movember.
The world is a better place having you in it then not my man!!
Thomas J Fowler
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