I’m strong and life will never keep me down, because the harder I fall, the higher I bounce

Unknown Author

Michelle Farnell was eighteen-years-old when she started her pole journey. She was struggling with anxiety, depression and bulimia at the time that her sister suggested pole fitness to her. That eighteen-year-old girl had no idea that pole was about to change her life. The first time she walked into her class she was feeling self-conscious and riddled with anxiety, but after a few weeks, that started to change. Now, she looks forward to the hour and a half she spends at the studio every week, surrounded by people that she loves, doing the thing that she loves.

Michelle is now twenty-years-old, and it’s been two years since her journey began. She says that she is the most confident she has ever been because pole has allowed her to see the incredible things her body can do. Her happiest pole moment was during last year’s showcase – it was her first solo performance and she was ‘unbelievably nervous’; but when she performed the first move, all of the anxiety went away, leaving her feeling amazing.

When asked why she thought pole fitness helped battle mental illness, Michelle said “exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health and pole gives a fun approach. As you gain strength and your body begins to tone, your confidence will increase tenfold.” Her favourite thing to do in her ‘me-time’ is pole and she feels that it is a great thing to do when you need to make time for yourself.

Michelle is no longer bulimic and has ceased taking anti-depressants.

A story as inspirational as her’s deserves to be told. The leaps she’s made in two years is spectacular. According to statistics, up to 30 million people suffer from an eating disorder in the USA alone. Worldwide, that number is closer to 70 million. There is an estimate that 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women will have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime. Unfortunately, the actual number of people with eating disorders is probably much higher, especially in males. Many sufferers don’t come forward, possibly from embarrassment, denial or confusion about what their symptoms are.

If you are, or suspect, that you are suffering from an eating disorder, depression, anxiety or any other mental illness please seek help. There is always someone willing to listen.

https://www.mirror-mirror.org/eating-disorders-statistics.htm – Statistics on eating disorders

http://www.nedc.com.au/eating-disorders-in-australia – National eating disorder collaboration

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/ – Black Dog Institute

1800 33 4673 – National Helpline

By Shania Barrett

Michelle started pole when she was 18 and couldn’t imagine life without it.