“Sometimes you get to a point where you can’t stop what you are thinking. It’s like you’re being taken over by a demon.”
Many talented people are faced with mental health challenges, such as depression.
The following are excerpts from the article: Jennifer Capriati tries to beat her demons, By Wayne Coffey, NYDailyNews.com July 15th 2007:
Jennifer Capriati can’t remember where she was when she first had thoughts of killing herself. Between the doctor visits and the pain and the idleness, the timeline isn’t easy to keep straight.
She just remembers being boxed in by bleakness, battered by doubts about her purpose and her worth, pounding herself harder than she ever hit any tennis ball.
Here she was, a Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medalist and former No. 1 player in the world, reduced to this, a lost soul with a bad shoulder, a woman in a vice grip of depression.
In those dark moments, neither her successes nor her $10 million in career earnings could offer a shred of comfort. She’d look at the baseline of her life and see nothing but her own faults.
“Sometimes you get to a point where you can’t stop what you are thinking,” Capriati says. “It’s like you’re being taken over by a demon. You just feel there’s no way out of this space you’re in. It feels like the end of the world.
“When you are just so exhausted and tired of feeling that way, you (think), ‘I want to be off this planet right now, because I just feel disgusting inside. I can’t even stand my own skin, and I just want to get out.'”
Capriati pauses a moment. “The more you stuff it and don’t talk about it, the more it festers and eats you up inside,” she says. “It helps to talk about it with other people who go through it. You can’t wear an iron shield all the time.”
For more than two and a half years, Capriati, 31, has found herself in professional purgatory, afflicted with a debilitating shoulder injury that prevents her from even going out for a backyard hit. …
So where does Jennifer Capriati go from here? Some days are better than others. Depression is neither tidy nor predictable. She knows it’s dangerous to isolate, to get into the toxic mindset of believing that nobody can know her pain.
Capriati wants to bring her competitor’s heart to the fore. She is grateful for her family and her financial security, the good things in her life. Two days ago, she saw a chiropractor and kinesiologist who made her feel better. Toward the close of a two-hour discussion, Jennifer Capriati takes a moment to reflect and looks at you and seems resolute and strong, no longer America’s pony-tailed prodigy whacking a yellow-green ball, but a woman in search of respite, and hope.
“I know (suicide) is not the answer,” she says. “I only have one go at this. Even if it’s torturous, you have to stick it out. Maybe this is all a blessing. I’m still young. I still have time to figure it out.
“I have a choice. Am I going to let this defeat me, and make me not even want to be here? Or am I going to do something to not let this break me down, and maybe help other people? That’s the mission I’m on now, to find happiness and positiveness in the future.”
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