In my late teens, I used to box competitively. Boxing was something I was passionate to get into and I took it upon myself to learn the craft. Everything about it from learning the basics, to sparring, and eventually competing constantly pushed you to your limits physically and mentally. It was easily the most difficult thing I had managed to do in my entire life.
That is, it was until my struggle with mental health.
I had decided to hang up the gloves while I was in school out of town. During the last semester of my 2-year diploma, life got complicated when I started having poor mental health as a result of issues regarding school, family, relationships, and uncertainty about my future. My anxiety and mental health got so bad, that going to bed was the best part of my day as I figured at least I'd have a sense of solace in my sleep. Some days I would be lucky to go 10 minutes without having a “worst-case” scenario negative thought leading to obsessive and unhealthy habits that debilitated my daily living. I felt like I couldn’t do the things I loved anymore like boxing and I could barely get through a day at school. I was constantly asking myself the question of “Am I going to spend the rest of my life like this?”. It was difficult. Extremely difficult.
Sebastian after winning his first boxing match
Like boxing, my poor mental health pushed me to the limit every single day for months on end. With boxing, you always had a sense of relief after every single training session and fight, even if you lost! Unfortunately, there was no sense of relief when you’re going through those mental health challenges. There were only bad days, and worse days. What happened?
I was supposed to be “tough” since I was a boxer. Even though I developed a high level of mental resilience, I still found myself at the helms of poor mental health. Mental health challenges can truly happen to anybody at any given time.
I knew however that things had to change. I was going to do absolutely everything I could to put this chapter of my life to rest. I started practicing healthier habits like mindfulness, seeking free mental health counseling that I otherwise would not have been able to afford, and started taking anxiety medication. Progress was extremely slow, but it was still progress. Things were taking time, but they were happening. One of my mindfulness techniques that I used would later serve to be the foundation for Exodus Watch Company. I’ve always been a watch enthusiast, and I used a simple analog watch to help during times where I was feeling very tense and anxious. I’d stare at the seconds ticking by on my watch and told myself “Every second ticking by, is one second I’m closer to getting better.” It was simple and it was no miracle cure, but it did help.
Fast forward 7 years, and I finished my college diploma, a business degree, and founded Exodus which has been operational for just over a year. Exodus is proudly partnered with CMHA-WW, where we donate $10 from every watch sold so that together we can help improve mental health resources in our community. There was light at the end of the tunnel for me after all. Today, I get to work with incredible, compassionate, and talented people who care about improving mental health and take part in fantastic events such as the upcoming Charity Celebrity Golf Tournament held by McFadden’s Movement, a non-profit that serves to also benefit mental health resources.
The morale of my story is that mental health can affect anybody, even a former competitive amateur boxer who thought he was too tough to be impacted by mental health. Anybody can also overcome these mental health challenges, if they give it time, commitment, and patience.