Hard topic to talk about - Suicide among athletes

Discussion in 'Racing and Competition' started by Tricia, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I have a friend (acquaintance really) who was a top athlete in freestyle. After he met his goals and accomplished all that he felt he could, he faced some depression - What next?
    He is a recovering addict and has found a fulfilling life, but this is a topic that hits close and one that should probably be talked about more.
    • Mental illness in general
    • Depression after feeling the highest of highs.
    Posted by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard: Up in the air: the life of Speedy Peterson
    It's a hard video to watch, but suicide prevention is something we all need to talk about.

    In honor of Jeret 'Speedy' Peterson and National Suicide Prevention Week, check out The Speedy Foundation and help end suicide.

    [​IMG]: Washington Post


    How hard must it be for friends to see it happening and feeling helpless to stop it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
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  2. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

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    CTE. Hoping that more people wearing helmets will reduce that and the carnage it causes so many athletes and their families mid life post career. Couple top BMX and Skateboarders took their lives recently though. Slamming your head, even in a helmet, usually causes at least a mild concussion. Just seems to be a risk that isn't avoidable. As family and friends, we can try to help mitigate and manage the depression that comes with it but many don't show big signs that they are depressed. Asking for help is a sign of weakness in our society. That needs to change..
     
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  3. scott43

    scott43 Out on the slopes Skier

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  4. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    This may seem flip, but in the HBO show Ballers, the Dwayne Johnson character deals with CTE issues early on ... although that kind of fell off the radar. Now this season, another character has also been told they need to back off of playing. For CTE specifically, maybe it's good to highlight its effects wherever possible.

    But I am sure Tricia is right, and it's not just about brain injury. How do you find meaning after being so focused on being the best for so long?
     
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  5. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    It absolutely could have something to do with CTE, but most of the information Jaret indicates that he had other issues with depression for some time.
     
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  6. Nancy Hummel

    Nancy Hummel Ski more, talk less. Instructor

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    Elite athletes spend so much time training and traveling. I am sure it is a difficult transition to adjust to life without all of that. It may be challenging to go to a more 9-5 routine.
     
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  7. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

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    In my journey into learning about autism (primarily high-functioning, formerly known as Asperger's) I have learned that autistic people are at LEAST 50% more likely to suffer from depression and at least consider suicide. High-functioning autistic people often also possess the ability to hyper-focus on a specific goal or activity, or to become quite obsessed with one, something that is certainly a hallmark in a highly accomplished person in anything in life. Autistic brains truly function differently and are often highly gifted in one area or another.

    Being "on the spectrum" as it is called, is also under-diagnosed, particularly in girls and women.

    It makes me wonder how many of our famous athletes, or musicians, etc. (think: Chris Cornell) are high-functioning autistic who are never diagnosed and never get at the very least the internal peace of knowing that "yes, I'm different, yes, I see the world differently, and yes, it's OK."

    When I hear about athletes like Speedy Peterson, then watch that video, the first thing that comes to my mind is that he could have had undiagnosed autism. Autistics are also much more likely to be sexually assaulted, particularly as children.

    Regardless, I think these highly accomplished individuals have a very centered focus and purpose, and when that focus and purpose is suddenly gone, they really struggle. It's very sad to see the potential and know the pain they must be feeling.

    People of all walks do much better with a purpose.
     
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  8. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Do you think that elite athletes may have a certain "thing" ticking in their heads that drives them? When that purpose for the drive is gone, that ticking thing needs another purpose or it becomes a ticking time bomb.
    I don't know, but...:huh:
     
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  9. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    @AmyPJ you posted while I posted. You said it much better.
     
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  10. mikel

    mikel Putting on skis Skier

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    In the recent gear review issue from Powder Magazine there is a pretty good article about Jackie Paaso and her battle with depression and suicide.
     
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  11. scott43

    scott43 Out on the slopes Skier

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    About CTE, I know there is a big push now to see this as the boogeyman, but I'm not sure the science is 100% there yet. I'd only caution that we don't jump on the autism/vaccination bandwagon again.
     
  12. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

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    I'd love to read that.
     
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  13. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

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    Who's jumping on the vaccination bandwagon? Not me! Not even close. I 100% think it's genetic but was very under-diagnosed in the past. I believe there are a lot of adults out there walking around who are autistic but have never been diagnosed.
     
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  14. scott43

    scott43 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Sorry Amy, that was a bad analogy on my part, it was unrelated to your post. I was trying to pick a past "scientific" discovery that was subsequently not quite what it was initially believed to be. Maybe, multiple sclerosis and vascular deficiencies as another example. I was not pointing at you at all, no offense intended.
     
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  15. crgildart

    crgildart Gravity Slave Skier

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    I believe we are all somewhat autistic, just farther our on the spectrum or delving and obsessing over things considered more "normal" to obsess about like exercise or... ummm skiing. Some folks just need more discipline and structure to keep connected with others and "functional" from a societal standpoint. Everyone has gifts for some thing or category of things. But, as mentioned, the ability and opportunity to practice and perfect them changes based on life's circumstances. Inability to adjust to those changing circumstances is one of the dimensions of depression.. CTE, physiological and chemical imbalances are other dimensions/factors.
     
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  16. VickiK

    VickiK Getting on the lift Skier

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    Very sad.
     
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  17. Core2

    Core2 Out on the slopes Skier

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    Damn that phone call at the start, f*cking feels man. :(
     
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  18. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    That got me too.
    This is an important discussion.
     
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  19. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ Let's go! Pugski Ski Tester

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    I can see what you are saying, but, well, no, we're not. Brain scans and studies prove it. There are very set criteria that have to be present in order to be diagnosed with autism. A true autistic brain is wired much differently, with significant heightened activity in areas of the brain that "neurotypical" people don't have. That being said, yes, there are probably a LOT of folks out there walking around undiagnosed.

    In some ways, it could be a chicken or egg situation to consider.

    Anyway, I think it still boils down to finding a purpose in life, and having a good mentor and a few good friends.
     
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  20. Core2

    Core2 Out on the slopes Skier

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    I think as skiers, we're the type of people that chase the highs in life which ultimately makes some of the lows even lower. Skiing pulled me out of a dark place and I know it has for others as well but there is a flip side. The battle with depression is different for everyone and I hope as time goes on we can look at it with less of a stigma and support people who are going through it so they don't feel like they are weak and battling alone because they are not.
     
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