“Up until 2013, I didn't do much exercise and just seemed to be plodding through life,” she explains. “I was out of work but managed to keep myself busy by helping members of my family out. All this changed in November 2013 and things went downhill very quickly.”
Jamie suffered a breakdown and even attempted to take her own life, something which still upsets her to this day.
“When I think back to how bad things got, I get very upset. For days I couldn't eat anything and I never left the house. I received counselling and was given medication to help, but I lost so much weight so fast it was scary,” she says.
“I found counselling really useful and it helped me open up about my problems – it felt so nice to be able to talk to someone without worrying about whether they were judging me or worrying about upsetting family members! I started to improve as time went on – I was eating properly again, talking to my close friend and even going out... Result!”
Things were looking up for Jamie when her counsellor suggested she added some physical activity into her weekly routine to help continue her recovery.
“At first I was unsure, but just over a year ago I decided to join the gym so I could start swimming as part of my membership. Once I started, I absolutely loved it – it was a lovely way to chill out and forget everything that's going on, if only for a short while!” explains Jamie.
“It was when I was at the gym that I saw the Zumba classes on the studio timetable and after watching loads of videos on YouTube, I thought I may as well try it because the way I saw it, if it goes pear shaped at least I’ve tried it.”
What started as doing one class each week soon turned into more once Jamie discovered the I Will If You Will (IWIYW) Zumba classes in her local area.
“I realised that Julie, one of the IWIYW instructors, was leading Zumba at two venues local to me,” she explains. “I went to my first class in early December 2015 and I’ve not looked back since. I started off hiding at the back but now I am always at the front right near Julie!”
Jamie caught the Zumba bug and now struts her stuff at least three times a week, always with Julie, her favourite instructor.
“Feeling confident enough to be at the front of the class is a big achievement for me and it's thanks to Julie's constant support that I love Zumba as much as I do. I love the buzz, the atmosphere and the fact that we can have a laugh, all while keeping active which is a huge bonus!” says Jamie.
“I look forward to Julie's Zumba classes every week. My confidence has shot up since starting the gym and Zumba I feel much fitter, healthier and happier now – I love it!”
Jamie loves her weekly Zumba sessions with Julie (pictured)
Jamie has been off her medication for almost two years now and as well as indulging in her weekly Zumba sessions, she loves keeping active by going to the gym with her friend Jess.
“We keep each other going and we have a laugh while we’re at the gym,” she says. “I can’t say enough good things about Zumba because it’s helped me so much – it’s helped me get my confidence back, helped me improve my fitness and provided me with an escape from all the stresses and worries I have.”
Jamie’s even started embracing the latest IWIYW class to land in Bury – Pound. Based on the cardio workout achieved by drumming, Pound is an all-over body workout using Ripstix to pound along to the rock music.
“I’ve improved so much at Zumba and I absolutely love Julie’s Pound class,” she explains. “She is my motivation and she’s really kept me going. When I first started her Zumba class, I felt like I was never going to reach the end but now I can Zumba and Pound one after another!
“It’s onwards and upwards for me from now on and I have Julie to thank for that.”