In early February, I wrote a blog about my battle with mental illness. Two weeks later, I posted a picture of me on Instagram in my Oiselle Haute Volée racing kit. I had put on the uniform for the first time, and oh did it feel good! The moment when I would be racing as a sponsored athlete had finally arrived! Although my performance was subpar, the race gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my “why”! Riding high on my renewed passion for my sport, I booked a one-way flight to LA for a training camp! I was all in and ready to turn my dream of making the Olympic team into a reality! The day I arrived in LA, I wrote in my journal: “I’m on the mend. I feel joy again. This will be great!”
Fast forward five days…
Because I was having trouble falling asleep, I started drinking wine before going to bed. I also started having more frequent thoughts of self-harm. Nonetheless, I continued to push forward because that’s what we athletes do. It isn’t until I found myself googling how to self-harm in a “safe way” that I realized something had to give. I wasn’t looking to die, I just wanted a release. After experiencing these intrusive thoughts for a week, I finally decided to reach out to my therapist. That night, my fiancé booked my flight home.
I was grabbing on to anything that would take my mind off the inner work and healing I needed to do.
A week later, I posted a video on Instagram disclosing that I was taking a step back from training to prioritize my mental health. Although I felt nervous, exposed and vulnerable, being open about my mental illness was a step I needed to take to start on my healing journey. So yup, it’s been a rollercoaster ride, to say the least! Forcing myself to pause was/is not easy. I started looking at wellness retreats I could go on. Then, I became obsessed with getting a dog and flooded my fiancé’s phone with pictures of cute puppies. When he nixed that idea, I thought “ok, let’s have a baby!” Mind you, I’m the one who’s been saying that I’m not having kids till I’m 35! It became clear, at that point, that I was grabbing on to anything that would take my mind off the inner work and healing I needed to do.
Without track, travel plans, a dog or a baby, I’ve had some time on my hands. Though I’m still on an emotional rollercoaster, I’ve used this time to focus on my next career. The skills I’ve developed as a track athlete have served me well because I managed to set up a business in under a month, offering mental performance consulting services and workshops: Embrace Your Pace!
Although I’m still not clear on what lies ahead for me track-wise, I’m taking the time to process things and finding a new purpose in helping other athletes overcome their mental barriers.