I have had some requests for my accounts from when I first started "getting sick". I guess my memory is intact because it takes very little to recall those days. The fear. The uncertainty. The embarrassment. The sense of failure. All very curious emotions to be tied to "illness". Hopefully in time, and with the right words, I will be able to help you understand where embarrassment and failure tie into living with Mental Illness. However I will start with my beginning; or at least my beginning with this disease. Once again I am going to offer some of my writing from the time, as I find it most insightful and without the prejudice of having learned to manage and cope. It is my hope that this will allow you to see the fear, the desperation and the sense of absolute terror that comes with not knowing! With the feeling that your world is spiralling out of control with no understanding or preparation. And worst of all, the feeling that admitting it will only result in judgement, criticism, and affirmation of weakness. This was written shortly after I was diagnosed;
I tried to continue on, pretending I had never seen her. But she started coming around more and more. She was there in my inability to eat. I would wake up in the middle of the night and she would be laying there next to me, a reflection in my window. She haunted me, containing me to my apartment. I became terrified of being alone with her. I had accepted I couldn't help her. So I ran. I tried to get as far away from this girl as I could. But no matter what I did, she followed me. She forced me inside myself to a place I'd never been. And even once I realized where I was, I had no clue where to find me. All I knew was I couldn't help her. That scared me. The problem with running is eventually you hit a wall. And when I hit the wall, people noticed. They noticed because I couldn't hide anymore. But mainly they noticed because Team Canada was forced to issue a press release stating I was leaving camp that year. That was my first formal introduction to that scared little girl. She sat next to me on the flight to camp in Calgary that year. She stood next to me on the ice during that first practice. She followed me back to my dorm room that afternoon, and she cornered me. There I sat, alone with her, petrified as she walked over to me and sat down next to me. Only when I turned to look at her she was gone. I couldn't see her, relief took over for a moment. I stood and walked towards the door and there she was. She stood right in front of me staring back at me from that cold hard mirror. I didn't find myself that day, but I found her. I knew at that moment I was gone, this was my replacement. It was my replacement that sat with the Team Canada coaches the next morning. I remember being asked if it would help knowing they wanted my to play for Team Canada in the Four Nations tournament that year. My response in that moment was torture, but I knew I couldn't stay, I was no longer there. That scared little girl wasn't a hockey player. She was simply fighting for each and ever breath. I could not share my dream with her.