Alex Wisch is our Pain-2-Power Person of the Week because he has turned adversity into strength. Wisch, who has battled severe major depression, is now a top trainer whose list of clients includes professional athletes and CEOs. Wisch not only speaks openly about his journey through darkness and his continued work to stay healthy, but has turned his pain into his power by launching a fitness challenge to raise money to help optimize mental health services.
“I tried every treatment out there for the profound depression I struggled with, including psychotherapy, dozens of medications, ketamine infusions and even ECT,” Wisch said. “Nothing freed me from its grip until I devoted unwavering focus to revitalizing and strengthening my body, in order to strengthen my mind. It was essential to optimize my biology and my body’s innate, healing wisdom.”
On May 30th, 2021, during Mental Health Awareness Month and the day before Memorial Day, Wisch will take on an almost incredible fitness feat to bring awareness to the fact that the mental health crisis affects people of all backgrounds.
Wisch will perform 1,000 pull-ups, 2,000 push-ups and 3,000 squats, all within 10 hours, while wearing a 20-pound weighted vest to symbolize the weight of mental illness on the many millions who must confront it. He is inviting people to donate to support his Herculean effort. All the money donated will go directly to Team Red, White & Blue, a charity that utilizes fitness and community to support America’s veterans as they overcome their own mental health challenges while transitioning back to their families and neighborhoods.
“Daily fitness and mindfulness have been essential for me to overcome the challenges of depression and train for this enormous feat,” Wisch said. “I want to share this knowledge and help people in all areas of life begin their own journey towards mental wellness.” For this reason he created the 30-Day Fitness for Mental Health Challenge. Participants can choose from Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Elite and Ultra-Elite fitness routines that anyone can complete in the comfort of their own home.
“The 30-Day Challenge includes performing pull-ups, push-ups, and squats every other day, throughout the month of May, along with a daily 5-minute practice of mindfulness,” Wisch said. “It is now very well understood that pairing daily physical activity with mindfulness practices significantly improves anxiety and depression symptoms, along with reducing the risk for clinical depression.”
Wisch knows that people too often stay silent about their struggles with mental illness out of fear of being stigmatized. He has made it his mission to speak out by sharing his story. “No one is spared when it comes to mental illness, regardless of accomplishments and bravery.”
Wisch has advice for anyone confronting depression, anxiety or any other psychiatric symptoms or disorder. “You must never give up. You must never stand down. Please know that there is hope and healing is possible. Your potential is far greater than you may imagine, especially during your tough times. I have seen extraordinary recoveries unfold again and again, including in my own life.”
Wisch is asking for you to please show your support to make a positive change in the mental health crisis by making a donation on www.fitnessformentalhealth.org and by participating in the 30 Days for Mental Health Challenge.
Dr. Keith Ablow
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