Can’t have them all.
There are some great seasons, and there are some pretty shitty ones, that no one seems to talk about. It’s so easy to post online, and give the illusion that everything is so great all the time, when the reality of it all is — no one talks about the hardships, or the mental health, or the days you spend crying because you’re depressed. Because why would anyone want to see that on social media, right? Well, guess what – it’s not all rainbows and f*cking butterflies; yeah, I said the F word – I’m almost 30, I can. I know there are some young people reading this, and I apologize for being raw, but I need to let it out.
Had I not gone through (whatever form it was of) depression a few years ago after the Olympics, I would think there is no way out. It’s so easy to spiral down to the dark side, and believe the thoughts you have. Unfortunately I am back there now, but I have the tools to keep my head above water, while I work myself out of what feels like quicksand at the bottom of the Valley. I thought this was pretty normal; the crappy feeling every day, the lack of motivation or failing to see any success in the future. Not to mention the absolute shittiest skating I have EVER done in my entire career. I am disgusted at myself and my performances — but it is all I could deliver with what I am going through. I am fit; damn fit, but due to circumstances out of my control, I lost that and I need to rebuild.
The thing is, I have motivation, but it comes and goes. I do believe I will be very successful in whatever I chose to do in my life, but the crappy feeling, and the thoughts – they’re all there. The worst part is that people are reaching out; I have potential clients that I need to write programs for, and I need to use my time accordingly, to make a living and to make ends meet —-and here I am not mentally able to reply to messages, on my phone, facebook, instagram and all social media. I am overwhelmed and I feel like the world is crashing. Yet, there are moments when everything is so good, and I’m back to my normal self (whatever normal may be), and it all feels consistent again, and there is hope. Knowing that this is just temporary, I maintain a daily routine of training, and eating the right things. Your gut and brain are connected, so when you don’t eat healthy, it contributes to all the crappy feelings, and makes the depression worsen. I legitimately whisper “what the f*ck” to myself, at least 5 times a day…followed by “it’s all going to be OK in the end.”
If you are also going through something similar – stay strong. You’re not alone. You have to decide that you had enough of feeling like this, and you have to make a plan. You have to also find what caused the initial feeling, so that you can build onto that. You have to then work backwards on the steps you take, to achieve that plan, or at least head in the right direction. For me, this all has to do with having one of the worst seasons of my life, and then it spiralled down quickly due to my environment and circumstances. I learned a lot, and I am grateful for the people that still put up with me while I was not my usual self. I promise you that I am not the nicest person to be around right now. I am struggling, big time. And I am open to talking about it, because I wish I had someone to help me with this, the first time I experienced these feelings.
Reflecting on this past season…well, I can only tell you that I learned. A. Lot. I watched races on TV that I should have been participating in. Dealing with politics within my federation (like every other country and sport), had me sitting twiddling my thumbs during World Championships, when I found out I actually was supposed to be there and race. Mental toughness training 101. But, it may as well have been this year, than the next Olympic one.
Everyone had obstacles they had to deal with. I knew what mine were from day one, but being as stubborn as I am, I stuck through some pretty shitty situations, just to get ice time, and to say I gave this new experience, a real try. Through this, I made some incredible friends, and new connections – I got to spend time in Europe, and even though I am not seeing the beauty in that yet, ( as I am just craving being home and hugging my mom), I am making the best of every single day here and wherever I am. I took a chance on something most people only dream of. I made some huge changes to my life and I jumped into the unknown. Couldn’t stay home and be comfortable because you don’t grow as a person that way. While I was at the Olympics, I slept through the entire month and I didn’t get out of my room, because I was too emotionally exhausted to do anything, and now I regret that.
So, with that being said, I guess this is what the school of life is like; you live and you learn, and you do it better the second time around. I am living in the present, finding things to be happy about, and letting go of being so hard on myself (for now.) Next year I will be back in the game; I will be performing and I look forward to another Olympics that I can fully take in. Until then, I’ll be here working on myself, and bettering little parts of what needs fixing, and will continue to smile – cause there is SO much to be grateful for, within all the darkness. Protect your energy. Celebrate the small steps. Embrace your mistakes. Be kind to yourself, and be open to inspiration from other places.