Marine Veteran Uses Boxing to Help Overcome Depression

Lisa Bodenburg served as a Marine in Afghanistan until she got injured. Home as a civilian, she struggled with depression and even thoughts of suicide. After a life-saving conversation with a neighbor, she found a new life in exercise and boxing.

“I got up, I forced myself to go to the gym,” she explains. “I know that there’s a physiological effect — endorphins will be released and they will make me feel better.”

Video Transcript

Announcer: Ladies and gentleman, we are ready for our sixth bout of the evening.

Lisa Bodenburg: Everyone experiences pain differently, but no matter what you feel, no matter if you think nobody cares, someone cares for you, and it will get better — because you’re worth it.

Announcer: Ladies and gentleman, fighting out of the blue corner — this is Lisa Bodenburg.

Lisa: I’ve always been a fighter. I decided to go (with) the most combative position that I could take, and so I found this kind of illustrious job of what’s called a crew chief.

Getting out of the Marine Corps so abruptly was a very difficult thing to handle. There was a time where I was struggling so badly that I couldn’t take the pain anymore.

I began to struggle with thoughts of suicide because I was so sad, and so upset, and so lonely. I had written a letter, and I’m right there at the brink of pulling that trigger — and there’s a knock on my door. My neighbor came in and I told her everything that was going on and we just talked and cried and, you know, she stopped me. She saved my life that day.

So during this time, during this struggle, I remember thinking, Well, what can I do with my time? I’m so sad, what can I do? I can go to gym.

I know that there’s a physiological effect: endorphins will be released and they will make me feel better. So I did — I got up, I forced myself to go to the gym. I got into boxing because, originally, I couldn’t run. I got injured in Afghanistan and I had to find something to keep me in shape. I just kind of fell into the sport, and then I fell in love with the sport.

I don’t look at boxing as pain. I look at it as a challenge. I have learned a lot since that dark time in my life. I have taken the steps to grow myself mentally as well as physically. And since then, my faith has grown exponentially. So if there’s anything that I can say it’s: He is real, and He loves you so much. And He’s not going to give up on you, no matter what you’re going through.

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