Peloton instructor, Kendall Toole, is sharing her mental health battle.
When Kendall was just a college senior in 2015, she struggled despite being an impressive film student at The University of Southern California as well as a cheerleader. She admits that even her friends had no idea what was going on underneath the surface.
Peloton Instructor Kendall Toole Discusses Previous Suicidal Thoughts: ‘I Was Comfortably Numb’
“I didn’t want to burden anyone. I didn’t want anyone to have to bear that weight of something that I felt was only my job to fix,” Toole, now 29, told TODAY in 2021. “So I smiled and kept it to myself. I look back at pictures where I appear so happy, and I remember the thoughts I was having at the time.”
“I was comfortably numb,” she added in a new interview with TODAY’s Carson Daly aired Friday. “In college, I progressively could front and put my mask on that I was happy and thriving, and behind the scenes, I was slowly losing the color out of my day. … The anxiety and depression was really starting to come in at that point in time. … It was rough. I felt nothing.”
During her senior year on Thanksgiving, Toole switched her phone to silent mode and was overcome by dark thoughts.
“It scares me to this day to say how seriously I was considering (ending my life),” Toole recalled. “I was so tired of feeling pain that I just couldn’t feel anything anymore. The numbness was suffocating. Feeling numb is dangerous territory.”
Toole recalls suddenly having a vision of her parents, Suesie and Rick, reacting to the news of her suicide.
“I saw in that moment what would become of my family,” Toole added, fighting back tears. “I couldn’t do that to them.” However, when she did glance at her phone, she noticed her mom had called her 15 times and sent her 12 text messages.
“She knew, and that took me aback. I picked it up and started crying, like, ‘I need you to come pick me up,'” she recalled to Carson, who called it “mother’s intuition.”
Toole moved back home and started meeting a therapist three days a week who diagnosed her with anxiety and depression. Today, she continues to see a therapist and takes an antidepressant.
“I think there’s a stigma around medicine. I had my own stigma for a long time about how I shouldn’t need this. I shamed myself,” Toole said. “But my mom said, ‘Honey, it’s no different than if you were diabetic. If you do not take your insulin, you will not survive. Having a mental illness is no different than having a physical ailment.'”
Toole shares how her mental health journey “a lifelong commitment.” Since sharing her story, Toole has been overwhelmed with messages from Peloton members sharing their own mental health battles. She says she wishes she could give them a hug.
“I hid my whole life. I pretended I was this cool girl with everything under control. That wasn’t helping me. That wasn’t helping anybody,” she said. “When we’re vulnerable we can positively impact people. That’s when we can make a difference.”
“I was presenting as miss bubbly Californian Peloton instructor who has this positive energy all the time,” she added. “I was like, I’m not doing a service here if I don’t talk about what’s really happening. I’m going tell the world I have anxiety and depression.”
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