Bad news never has good timing.
Often, what seemed like a little rain somehow morphs into a hurricane.
That’s how APEMAN Ana Alvez describes the events in her life.
“In 2016 my world came to a halt,” she said. “Not only did my dad fracture his neck in a car accident and nearly died in the VA hospital from a stage 4 bedsore, my brother passed away from cancer.”
Ana struggled on a day-to-day basis trying to be a pillar of strength for her family. On most days, she succeeded. But as we all know, that’s infinitely easier said than done.
“I tried to be strong for my family, boyfriend and son,” Ana said. “But my world was crumbling inside. I went through severe depression and my weight shot up to over 210 pounds – a number I never thought I would see.”
Ana had to help her dad learn to walk again and regain his strength after his accident. Those were remarkably tough – and long – days. She wouldn’t go back and do anything different, but being on-call 24 hours a day makes it difficult to take care of yourself – mind, body and spirit.
Eventually, it took its toll on Ana.
“My life went from being easy-going to overwhelming in the blink of an eye,” she said. “But he’s my father and I knew I needed to take care of him. Before his accident I was at the gym every day. In fact, I reached a previous goal and my body was cut. But being on the run all the time meant my son and I also ate on the run and we both gained weight.”
Unfortunately for Ana, the drastic changes in her life led to severe depression. The circumstances led to her splitting up with her boyfriend; the hurricane that exemplified her life all of a sudden shifted into a category 5.
“I could barely get out of bed,” she said. “I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. I felt like a bad mom.”
Ana remained strong through the storm – a phrase that’s become her mantra – and made a conscious decision not to let this situation beat her. She credits APEMAN STRONG for being the motivation and inspiration to keep going, especially on the days where the storm was at its worst.
“It took me three months to get out of my depression,” she said. “I had to literally push myself every single day and go to the gym, work and do the things I had to do – both for my family and myself. I cried a lot. I had to learn to ask for help.”
Through her journey, Ana learned what true self-worth is. Never again would she let her circumstances consume her. If it wasn’t something she could change, she knew it wasn’t worth getting upset over.
“I’m happy to say that I have lost nearly 50 pounds,” she said. “I’m smiling again. Today I am 165 pounds and have 10 more pounds to my goal weight. My son is so proud of me. Not only am I a mom, I am a survivor. A Nurse. A mechanic. A friend. A daughter. I strive to be the best person I can be every day. I am STRONG IN THE STORM.”