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About 6.7 Percent of all adults in America suffer from depression. Symptoms of depression can include: anxiety, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of intrest/ pleasure in activities, mood swings, sadness, excessive sleepiness, insomnia, excessive hunger, loss of appetite, irritability, social isolation, weight gain, or weight loss. These symptoms if left untreated can lead to suicide or thoughts of suicide.

We’ve all seen the memes on Facebook (if you follow any BJJ pages) saying that Jiu- jitsu is the magical cure for everything, but the reality is that it isn’t the only factor to healing your depression, and just training alone may not be the only thing that will help you get past your anxiety or feelings of hoplessness.
So many people who train here at Supremacy BJJ say that walking into the doors and giving it their all on the mats is a major release, like mat therapy. They love it, and they tell everyone (family, friends, etc.) how beneficial and amazing it is all of the time. But for the people who are struggling with depression, it isn’t as easy as walking onto the mats and just training. They are constantly fighting a battle with themselves and the voices in their head that are telling them that they can’t do it, or that they will never be good enough for this sport, or that there are people much more talented than them so they should just quit before they embarrass themselves.
So why do so many people insist that BJJ helps with depression?
Because once a person with depression takes that first step into the gym and overcomes that little voice in their head, they want to do it more and more. They want to set goals and accomplish them one by one, they want to interact with people and make friends and have that support system that will always be there if they need help on or off of the mats. Little by little they can overcome their depression and tell that voice in their head that it is wrong, and that they can acheive ANYTHING they set their mind to. THAT is why so many people call it mat therapy. Because it gives you goals and something to work hard for and look forward to everyday.
I remember when I first came into the gym. I was shy and distant and had never done any physical contact sport in my life. But now I am more outgoing and I love helping, training, competing, and teaching the children at Supremacy. It gives me something to look forward to and I couldn’t ever imagine my life without it again because I have gained so much more than confidence and knowledge, I’ve gained a family. If you or someone you know is struggling with depresson/ anxiety/ etc., get them to at least try a BJJ class. They may not like it or they may love it, all you/ they need to do is take that first step into the gym.
You will tap, you will go through rough patches, you will have days where you absolutely don’t want to train, but those days will be the days that you will need to train the most because it will make you stronger and better as a person and a BJJ practitioner.
Depression is very serious, mostly because it’s “silent”. But it leads to living a life devoid of joy and progress. And you can only take that so long until you begin to think that life has no meaning, when that sinks in then suicide becomes real. Jiu- Jitsu uses your own mind and body to overcome someone which gives you confidence, purpose, challenge and the feeling of winning (physically over your partner and mentally over your own mind). And to have a brotherhood (and sisterhood) behind you through it all supporting you like Supremacy does will make your battle a lot easier.
~Laila Ahmad, Head Children’s Coach and blue belt



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