Sometimes we receive an email that truly puts life into perspective. This happened recently, when Billy was brave enough to tell us his story about his battle with depression, and reminded us how fragile, complicated and beautiful life truly is. Below is his story.

“I have suffered from Major Depressive Disorder and Panic Disorder for most of my life, but these disorders have made my life a living hell for the past two years. I’ve spiraled into dark places, developed severe social anxiety, and have contemplated suicide more times than I can count. I was surrounded by complete darkness, and honestly did not see a way out.

This past weekend, I participated in my first Rugged Maniac, which happened to also be my first obstacle course race. I’m not sure what drove me to sign up, and I even considered not even showing up, as I didn’t think I would be able to succeed. Everything else was going wrong, why would a Rugged Maniac go right? Despite my anxiety trying to get me to stop, I went anyway.

Something happened to me during the race; I changed. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline, or the fact that I was mastering obstacles I never would have ever considered doing. Even when I failed at an obstacle, I felt myself becoming more “powerful.” Finishing Rugged Maniac was one of the greatest moments of my life. It became the rope I needed to begin climbing out of my depression. Even before finishing, I was already looking forward to my next one.

I’m not the same person I was the Saturday morning of my race. My coworkers have noticed a positive change in me, and I can feel it. I finally believe that things are going to be okay, and that I’m going to find my strength.

I don’t know what else to say right now, other than that Rugged Maniac saved my life.”