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Elise Christie on Issues of Mental Health Protection

 Ever since her experiences, crashes, and disqualifications at Sochi 2014 and winter Olympic Games, Christie has had her bad times with cyberbullies and backlash, which resulted in depression and self-harm. But speaking in an interview with Rob Jones, she has opened up with hopes of getting into the heads of people who have suicidal thoughts or consider self-harm daily.

 

The British short track speed skater opens up about her experience with self-harm and death threats from cyberbullies.

She wants to do this by sharing her experience and background so that they can know that there is always a way out, no matter what they are going through. Christie said that she has been going through rough times since childhood, but in recent times, she has found herself as a person and learned new ways to adjust to the environment and things going on in sports and everywhere else.

“When it happened, I wasn’t myself.” She described the experience. “I was just kind of had, like a bit of an out-of-body experience going through motions. I did it (self-harm), and then I remember 30 seconds or a minute later, just thinking that I didn’t want to die and wake up thinking, ‘what the heck?’

“I just wanted to stop as many people as possible getting to that point, because I think there’s a huge difference between being suicidal and being a self-harmer. A huge difference, I think that some people who self-harm get to the point of nearly being as bad as that because they take it too far,” Christie explained.

According to Christie, she was quiet and anxious as a child but never thought she was depressed, she was happy at some point, but it all changed after Sochi, where she was being bullied and was receiving death threats from unknown people. This deteriorated her mental health. “It got so bad that I didn’t want to leave the house in case someone tried to kill me. When I was in social events, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even listen to what people were saying because I was focused on trying to calm myself down.”

After Sochi, Christie decided to bounce back but was faced with another blow of crashes and disqualifications at PyeongChang in 2018. She even suffered an ankle injury that year. That was why she resorted to self-harm, using it as a way out.

 

What was the way out for Christie? What advice does she have for people who are battling depression, and what are her plans, as we advance?

Christie is telling people with depression to take their medications as directed by their physicians, find the right people to talk to, and find a purpose, self-worth. She also advised people not to link their happiness or self-value to something that is going on in their lives, because those things can easily disappoint; instead, they should find other things to value themselves on.

“Life isn’t just about skating. That’s not because I’m not a dedicated athlete. It’s about that medal and skating. But if I have a bad training session now, I’m not going to come and feel rubbish all day anymore,” she said. “I’m now choosing to take my medication regularly and not come off it and try and be the hero who got through it.

“I’m choosing to approach skating differently again, in the way that I used to. Enjoying it, writing down challenging goals and being proactive, and the athlete that I want to be.”

In subsequent days, Christie wants to face every challenge that comes her way, go to Beijing for her third consecutive Olympics in 2022, despite everything she has been through. She has announced to her fans that she won’t be on social media from 2021 because she does not wish to get any responses from there. Indeed, the opinions or responses from people do not validate our existence.

“One of my biggest ambitions about this Olympics is to show that, despite everything that happened, I still went out there and tried once more because there was no reason for me not to. There have been a lot of reasons that have made it hard, but there’s no reason that I shouldn’t be there.”

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