My entire life, I’ve always excelled in school, sports, and had an amazing friend group. However, as the pandemic began, that all changed and I began experiencing depression. I was doing school online and did not have much in-person interaction outside my family. It got lonely really fast and even though I would zoom with people every day, it wasn't the same.
TW: mentions of suicide
My grades began slipping and I got my first B ever. I stopped doing hobbies I used to love and would basically just lay in bed all day with no motivation to get up. The lack of motivation quickly got worse, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness. Even during the days that I felt some motivation, I never felt hopeful for the future or saw a point to keep going. This spiraled into suicidal thinking very fast. For almost two years, I thought about taking my own life pretty much every day. And I never mentioned it to anyone.
There were times I could have opened up to someone, but fear stopped me. As a very independent person, I thought I could handle it on my own. I have always been strong for my family and the last thing I wanted them to do was worry about me. I became withdrawn and didn’t even talk to my teammates that often. Sometimes, I would cry during practice, unable to keep it together. Getting up for school in the morning was an impossible task and every night I was utterly exhausted from the day's events. It also didn’t help that I was extremely hard on myself for this. I would constantly belittle myself in my head about not doing more at school, not having more energy to socialize, not achieving more on the ice.
I didn’t even look forward to hockey games anymore, which used to be my favorite thing. I was trying desperately to enjoy my senior year of high school, but could barely even get up and brush my teeth.
Eventually, after a year and a half, I told my parents I wanted to pursue therapy, which ultimately began my path to recovery. After six months of treatment, I am finally feeling a little better and am hopeful about the future for the first time in a long time. But, I wouldn't have made it here without reaching out for help. So if you're struggling right now, and you're debating reaching out, just do it. It can be really scary to imagine how people might react, but reaching out is your best first step towards feeling better. You got this!
Fiona recently started a mental health podcast, Four Minutes with Fiona. The episodes are just four minutes long and she interviews successful athletes about their mental health stories.