Leanda Keahi-Bevans thought she was invincible until a traumatic experience left her battling PTSD and depression. She needed something to turn her life around and make her value herself again. That’s when she discovered the CrossFit community in Tucson, Arizona.

Keahi-Bevans says she had “zero self-confidence and valued really nothing” in the wake of kidnapping and sexual assault.

“It wasn’t just the mental part,” she explains. “My body wasn’t right, so I didn’t look right. I didn’t feel right.”

She recalls thinking, “OK, now I’m going to accept it. I’m going to acquiesce to the fact that I’m old. I’m going to be unhealthy ... this is who I am. I’m going to pretend to be happy about it.”

But she wasn’t happy. The happiness didn’t come until she decided to change and started doing CrossFit. She says she started feeling better after just two weeks, and soon after, “Life just started coming together.”

Friends she made in the gym cared about her, and she started caring about herself as well.

When it comes to being happy and healthy, she says, “There’s no secret. Treat people well. They treat you well. We all care about each other, and now the world’s a better place.”

Video by Mike Koslap.

7min 24sec

Additional reading: “Enemy Unseen” by Chris Cooper published May 28, 2015.

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