What is the story related to mental health, suicide, and/or resilience that you’d like to share?
I would say my story started at Brandon Valley High School where I was a knock-out athlete. I was always told in high school I was going places and going to do amazing things. So I tried living up to everyone’s fairytale. I practiced hard, I worked out after games we lost, and I even made myself throw up to get faster. Then I headed to college to start my collegiate volleyball journey, and I found myself with a full-blown eating disorder. My roommates called my mom and told her what was going on. I was ashamed and so lost. The next thing I knew, my roommate was bringing me to see a nutritionist—she had to bring me because otherwise I would literally always bail. I hated every step of this getting better journey. Next was a doctor’s appointment back home with my mom and primary care. This was an eye-opening appointment as I was diagnosed for the first time with an eating disorder and depression. I’m now graduated and in full recovery. I could not be more proud of myself nor could I imagine doing it alone.
What resources have helped you to address this challenge?
Eating disorders in athletes are very common and not talked about. I would have to dig to even find a global resource. What I found helpful is Victory Garrick’s TED Talk and her resources. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sdk7pLpbIls
Locally, I’ve created a blog that sheds light on the journey in hope to make you feel less alone and hopefully laugh at yourself a little! https://elsiezajicek1.wixsite.com/justedthings
Think about the system that affects our mental health in our society, including aspects that are damaging to mental health and aspects of the system that improve mental health. Based on your experience, how might we improve that system to build resilience and better address the mental health needs of ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities?
Personally, I struggled with social media. I have now been able to tailor it so that I see very healthy posts when I log on. I think this is deeply rooted for many of us, when children are so often in front of screens. Getting away from the screen and connecting to the soil really played a big role in my recovery.
What is one thing related to mental health, suicide, or resilience that you wish everyone could understand?
It truly is one day at a time.