By December 28, 2018 I had reached breaking point. No matter how I tried to rationalise everything in my already scrambled brain, I just couldn't see away to escape all the problems.
Christ, I was very damaged after PyeongChang. I thought, "I'm done".
And with that thought, the blade went in. As it did, I knew enough to understand that I was no longer myself, no longer Elise. I 'd cut myself before of course, but that was different.
By December 2018, I'd reached a point in my life where I simply couldn't sweep everything under the carpet: the frustration because of injuries, the low self-worth, the constant financial pressures of being an athlete in a minority sport whose boyfriend had just dumped them by text message. Then there was losing Nick Gooch, my coach. It felt like there was nothing left in my life .
I'd just had enough, the inner pain was just too much and I was sufficiently desperate that I found myself upstairs in my house at midnight holding a razor blade against my left wrist.
I'd like to say that I know what my intention was that night but I genuinely don't. There was no conscious thought whatsoever.
The blade cut through this white coloured object and I clearly saw the two halves fall away. Oddly, there was no pain. "Was that my vein?" I thought, instantly returning to myself. "It is my vein... I'm going to die." One thing I knew right then was that I didn't want to die. I shouted to my friend Brett for help. Thank God he was downstairs.
On the way there I went through what I'd just done, over and over in my head. Why had I gone so much further this time? Was I trying to shock myself? Can I ever stop this? "This isn't normal," I thought .
People ask what will you do if it all goes wrong in Beijing in 2022, just like the last two Olympics? I understand myself so well now, I know that I'll absolutely fall apart if Beijing goes t**s up for some reason.
I fully expect to cry on TV and I fully expect to experience all of the crushing feelings of disappointment I felt in 2014 and 2018. I will crumple. But the difference is that this time, no matter how much I implode in the aftermath, I'll survive.
I know that, given time, I'll re-emerge and get on with the rest of my life. If people shout at me in the street in Nottingham, "You're a flop!" I can take that. I am, if nothing else, resilient.
Training to beat pain
BEYOND the physical pain I'd discovered when I first started speed skating, I used my sport as a means of combating emotional pain. Whenever I felt low, or insecure, I just trained harder.
No matter what anyone ever said to me and no matter how much I reflected that negativity back on myself, skating could always make the pain and self-loathing go away. I started using my talent for skating as away of keeping myself sane and balanced from day to day.
Training was one thing - it made me feel good and kept me in routine. If I didn't deliver or put in the effort, I'd bloody hate myself afterwards. That's so true, and it's as primal a motivator as any athlete could want.
Judgement call ended my dream
I HAD just finished second in Sochi in the 500m but was being blamed for the Korean skater crashing out.
I just burst into tears. I didn't know what else to do. It was the weirdest experience to be standing there waiting for the judges to decide whether to disqualify me.
I was about to either win an Olympic silver medal or to have one taken away. In an instant, it was gone. The way I rationalised it away in that moment, in order to move on mentally, was by telling myself I was still on form and still the strongest person there. In my head, I had two more good chances.
I went on my phone and when I did I had this feeling like the one you get when you go over a hill in your car. As I started to scroll, my stomach just dropped to the floor.
"Oh my god," I whispered. I was over it. But the online world felt differently.
I could see that I was getting dog's abuse from the British public on Twitter for being c**p, and that they shouldn't be funding me because I was so s**t.
Some were saying that they wanted to kill me and that they wanted to kill my mum.
I genuinely thought that my life as I had known it was over.
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For the rest of the Games, I'm told that one of MI5 or MI6, I'm not sure which, followed me around watching my every move.
I know that I'll re-emerge and get on with my life.
- Elise Christie: Resilience, published by Reach Sport, is on sale September 30. Save 25 per cent from reachsportshop. com