Last month we put the call out to our amazing community, searching for a new wave of Real Active Ambassadors, people who live and breathe our philosophy, love our products and are also mental health advocates.
We had some amazing applications and are so privileged to now share their amazing personal stories along with some of their mental health struggles and triumphs. We hope that by sharing these real stories, we are helping to smash the stigma and encourage others to open up too.
First up is Amber Lorraine. Amber is an incredible Mumma based on the Gold Coast with two daughters: Aria (1 year) and Lily (5 years). Amber is a mental health warrior who has battled anxiety since she was a teenager, but also suffered a tragic pregnancy loss, leading to postpartum depression and PTSD. Now over a year later, Amber has turned her focus to health and fitness and healthy weight loss, to not only help improve her mental health but also be the best version of herself for her family. She openly talks about her experiences through her social media channels, in the hope it may help anyone who may be suffering in silence.
- Why did you want to become a Real Active ambassador?
Given what Jack (my fiance) and I have been through in relation to pregnancy loss (I lost one of my twins at 21 weeks) and my long battle with anxiety, I really wanted to be a part of something that promotes mental health awareness and supports those suffering from anxiety and depression.
I really love the whole concept of Real Active - I love the girl power feeling of the brand, the positivity and women empowering other women!
- What inspires you?
My girls inspire me. They push me to be the best version of myself, the best Mother and the best person I can be. I want them to be proud of their Mummy!
- What is your favourite quote?
It’s so cliche but “it’s okay to not be okay” is something that I remind myself of daily. It is important for me to remember that I don’t always need to have all my ducks in a row. Humans aren’t meant to be perfect and have perfect lives, that’s just not how it works.
- What inspired you to start sharing your life on Instagram?
I started doing makeup YouTube videos in 2013 and I was hooked. I loved makeup and the creativity involved with filming and editing. I then fell pregnant with Lily in 2014, we were only 20 and very scared. I was worried about being judged so I left it behind and stopped posting.
I then had Lily and started sharing our life on Instagram and found other Mums were engaging and it just started growing from there. My following really started to grow when I fell pregnant with the twins in 2018. I sadly lost Evie at 21 weeks and still carried on being pregnant with Aria and sharing my story on social media. It really inspired me to move forward and share my story to help any other parents who had gone through a horrific loss like us.
- What do you find most challenging as a Mum?
Finding time for myself and self care. I’m always on the go and forget to stop and take time to recharge. My days start early at 4am so I can get to the gym before the family wakes up. It is then go, go, go to get Lily to school and care for Aria. Most of my work is done during Aria’s nap times and I usually have a big to do list every day that I try to get through.
I miss the simple things that I used to do that helped fill my cup up, like putting a face mask on or just going out with my girlfriends and having a girl’s night, just little things that I took for granted before becoming a Mum. I definitely find it challenging to prioritise myself; my whole life revolves around the girls, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Could you tell us more about your experience with anxiety and depression?
My anxiety started roughly from the age of 15, around when my Pop passed away. High school was a hard time for me. I had a great group of friends but other kids were horrible to me. I was only a size 10/12 in high school, but quite tall and curvy and I was constantly called fat and ugly. This broke me in so many ways but I never showed it. I would binge eat and then feel like absolute crap. I would then not eat dinner the next day and was in such a negative head space.
I felt like I couldn’t tell my friends or family, so I tried to show that I was confident but really the anxiety going through me was painful. I remember going to school on the bus one day and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t handle another day of insults. I started breaking out in hives and I just started crying. I ended up not getting off at school and going back home. I hid it from my Mum, from everyone, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I didn’t want to be looked at like I was any more different than what I already had felt. That was my first panic attack.
Depression is something that followed me for years through horrible breakups, daily humiliation, losing my Pop and just not being able to understand or deal with all my emotions. I definitely turned to binge eating as a coping mechanism.
Later on, I was lucky to have found Jack my Fiance, after being in a toxic unhealthy relationship for a year, which saw me at the worst of my depression and anxiety. Jack pulled me out of the lowest I had ever been and helped me overcome and deal with what I was going through.
- What do you do now when you feel anxious or depressed?
Working out is a big thing for me to clear my head and take that time for myself. The gym is something that in the past would give me the worst anxiety but I have actually found putting myself in a situation that gives me anxiety can actually help me overcome it.
When I’m feeling depressed, I take a step back and just re-evaluate my feelings and why I’m feeling this way and what’s triggering my feelings. It can be quite confronting, but I’m so lucky I have Jack to help me overcome these battles.
- Can you tell us more about your health and fitness journey and how you stay motivated?
After having Lily, I was so scared, unmotivated and the heaviest I had ever been. After a year, I lost a lot of weight but not the right way, starving myself and doing fad diets putting weight on and off. I started doing high intensity cardio five days a week and lost a lot of weight, but still wasn’t eating right. I then fell pregnant with twins and was told not to workout and to take it easy. After suffering a traumatic pregnancy loss and dealing with postpartum depression, I binge ate and put on a lot of weight again.
Again the heaviest I had ever been, when Aria was six months old I couldn’t do it anymore. I was so unhappy, hated the way I looked, my mental health was suffering and my anxiety was through the roof. I just needed to get out of that head space so I decided to join the gym with my friend. I got a PT selected for me and she was amazing, funny and so friendly, I decided to start doing three sessions a week. It was hard but so worth it. Then COVID hit and my gym closed. I was so lost, I lost my routine. As soon as they re-opened, I was straight back to the gym and decided to bump my sessions up to five days a week and really focus on how I fuel my body with the best food.
After losing almost 6kg, seeing the changes to my body and my increased fitness and strength, I also felt so good mentally. My anxiety is at its lowest it has ever been and I just feel so positive, happy and healthy. This feeling is what motivates me to keep going every day.
- What would your advice be to anyone who is suffering in silence?
Please don’t, you don’t have to suffer in silence. There is so much help out there - anyone and everyone will want to help you overcome these feelings. You don’t have to go through it alone. Taking the first step to find help is going to be hard, but it’s so rewarding to overcome it.
You can follow Amber and her beautiful family’s life on her Instagram page. We will also be sharing more of Amber’s pregnancy loss story and how she has overcome postpartum depression in the months to come.