How Depression Led to Healthy Changes

While Ashleigh was stuck on a deployment in the middle of the ocean she struggled with depression. She decided she needed to make a change. With nowhere to go and only work to do she decided to start focusing on what she ate. Saying no to the fried food and yes to the healthier option. This one choice led her to change her life and now she runs a coaching business to help other military women.

How Depression Led to Healthy Changes

Listen to the full episode here.

Third-Generation Naval Academy Graduate

Ashleigh is a third-generation Naval Academy graduate. Both her grandfather and uncle attended Annapolis. Growing up she didn’t want to be a part of the military, but as high school approached her grandfather talked about wanting a grandchild to continue the tradition and she began looking into the Naval Academy. By her freshman year of high school, she had decided it was what she wanted to do and started working to complete all the necessary requirements for the application. She had her application completed by the end of her Junior year and found out that summer she had been selected. 

The Struggle

We discussed how her struggle with fitness and weight was a constant struggle throughout her time at the Academy. She had wanted to be a leader for Plebe summer but felt unqualified because she wasn’t the best fitness member. She received advice from a leader at the Naval Academy that she still had leadership value even if she wasn’t the fastest runner and if she wanted to do it, she should.

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Surface Warfare Officer

She commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer and was one of fourteen with an Engineering option. Her first assignment was difficult and she attributes it to having a bad leader and dealing with depression. She went to the doctor on her ship while deployed to get help and was told he didn’t know what to do because he felt the same way. She decided to focus on what she could control, which was her fitness and making healthier choices at meals. That along with receiving her Surface Warfare Pin helped bring her out of her depression.

Her next assignment at Norfolk was a much better experience and she had great leadership and a more manageable job. She also met her future husband. While at Norfolk she applied to go to graduate school and moved to Monterey to get her masters in Electrical Engineering. Shortly after beginning graduate school, her husband proposed and they got married while she was attending school. Before she graduated her husband deployed and they will finally be stationed together after being married almost two years. 

Leaving the Military

Ashleigh has decided to leave the Navy after this assignment so she can focus on her health coaching business. She wants to have the flexibility of being able to work from home and raise a family. While she has gained a lot from serving in the Navy, it isn’t where her passion lies anymore. Ashleigh loves that she will continue to serve the military community through her coaching and online programs. 

Ashleigh’s Advice

She tells women who are considering joining the military to do it, but you don’t have to sacrifice who you are to do it. Know what you want and go for it.

Connect with Ashleigh:

Healthy Women Warriors Podcast

Mentioned in this Episode:

Naval Academy

Related to this Episode:

From the Navy to the Air Force – Episode 15

Do I Belong in the Navy – Episode 6

Giving Back After Service to Find Healing – Episode 56

Women of the Military Podcast Episode 96







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