Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bell Let's Talk Day!

Today (Feb 12, 2013) is a big day for 3 reasons; 1. It is Shrove Tuesday and we get to eat pancakes, 2. I leave for the 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kingston and 3. It is Bell's Let's Talk Day bringing awareness to mental illness. The pancakes need no further explaination so let me start with the Scotties. I am thrilled to be going to my 6th Scotties and with my same great teammates from last year. Yes, we all know the story of Team Galusha and the flu from 2012 and we are aiming for much better results this year (without the flu!). I leave today to meet up with everyone in Yellowknife and one last practice game before we take off tomorrow. It has been another busy year for this team and I am proud of everything we have done to date. As I decided to take a bit more time for my own adventures (I went to Hawaii in December!!!), and so I will be traveling with Team Galusha as the fifth player. But take my job as a benchwarmer very seriously!

Now Let's Talk... many people do not know that I struggle with generalized anxiety. This is not anxiety that comes along as a panic attack or depression but rather it is anxiety that is always present and never goes away. I remember having this even as a child and waiting for my parents to pick me up from activities or hating going to summer camps, etc. This anxiety hit a record high 3 years when I fainted at the gym and suffered from a major concussion. After many tests it was found that I fainted due to my body not regulating blood pressure and a couple other health issues but I still really believe that some of this was a sign that my anxiety was out of control. After 6 months of suffering from mega post- concussion syndromes I turned to yoga and the Doctor (giving me a prescription for citalopram), this along with curling and sewing has saved me. It is like a whole different way of life and outlook on things. Sure there are still bad days and bad moments where I need to slow down and breath but things are soooo much clearer and calmer for me.

Many people ask how my anxiety affects curling. It is the opposite where curling affects my anxiety in a positive way. As more athletes talk about mental illness I feel the same as what others are reporting. Curling is a time when I have complete control over my body and my mind. When I step onto a sheet of curling ice (or sometimes onto the treadmill) I get this wave of calmness through my whole body. As soon as my feet touch the ice nothing else matters. I think this is what gets an athlete addicted to a sport and maybe why many athletes suffer from mental illness. There is no better feeling for me than the bubble of curling!!!

And so with all these happy thoughts for today; good luck and good curling. Many things to look forward to over the next couple of weeks (and lots of Blog posts).  

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