PDA

View Full Version : Jennifer Kirk's blog: "... skating taught me far more than winning and losing"



Pages : 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9

Gil-Galad
05-29-2012, 11:11 PM
Reading Jenny's blogs always makes me terribly upset. It's great that she's sharing these emotions and experiences but my heart aches for her. And I'm not saying these experiences are exaggerated or untrue, but I'm always sad that her experience as a skater comes across as being so negative. It doesn't have to be that way. I myself was an elite skater, I know many elite skaters that competed to the highest level, including the Olympics, and most of them aren't so miserable. Yes, skating is brutal and unforgiving but usually there is an underlying sense of love for the sport. I never feel the love for skating from Jenny's posts, obligation yes, need to please yes, but not so much the love.

It's such a shame, it's a beautiful sport that can give you so many opportunities and make you feel so... amazing. There were plenty of painful moments and sacrifices for me, but in the end I'm so happy for all the time I spent in the rink. I wouldn't trade it for the world. In my experience, that's what it's like for most skaters, otherwise no one would stick with it. I hope that people don't read this and think this is how it has to be. If your experience is like this, there's something wrong. Skating shouldn't be an exercise in torture, it shouldn't be something you regret for the rest of your life. It should be something that enriches your life, not ruins it. I'm so sorry Jenny sees it that way.
I wouldn't really connect her struggles too much with the skating world. Female + self-image problems + eating disorder + self-harm to release pressure + alcohol abuse + interpersonal problems --- if a patient came to me with this story, my reaction would not be "the external factors of your life cause your problems". While I believe that certain aspects of the skating world can fuel certain problems (and probably did here) and that a certain style of parenting can also contribute to the outbreak of disorders, this whole story sounds more like an underlying personality structure, that might have caused problems no matter what.

That is not supposed to take away from Ms. Kirk. Everyone who educates others honestly and openly about mental health problems is a hero in my book. And this lady got herself help, she got better and now educates others and generally wants people to be more open about their problems. Kudos to her.

triple_toe
05-29-2012, 11:26 PM
I'm not in any way saying she shouldn't be writing these or that they won't help anyone. I'm just saying it's too bad her experiences were so negative when there is the potential for so much joy to be gained from skating. I think it's important to understand that her circumstances were exceptional and stemmed from beyond the skating world, and that this kind of thing should never be thought of as normal. My heart goes out to the poor girl, she's really been through the wringer and it's awful that figure skating has brought her so much grief.

Jenny only knows her own experiences and I only know mine. I just think people should be aware that the horrible, horrible experiences she describes are no where near acceptable and if things like this are happening, someone needs to put a stop to it. It's not ok, it's not "normal". Is figure skating easy? No. It's almost impossibly hard at times, emotionally and physically. But it shouldn't be like this.

ETA: Gil-Galad, I agree 100% with your post.

Sparks
05-30-2012, 01:29 AM
Not to speak for Jenny, but I have seen posts by her about how much she loves skating...for the sake of skating. I believe it was competition that contributed to her problems. I also like how Jenny takes personal responsibility for her behavior.

berthesghost
05-30-2012, 02:01 AM
A few months before I quit skating, my dad and coaches found out about my eating disorder, but nothing was done to get me the help I neededWTF!?!

Wyliefan
05-30-2012, 02:53 AM
Not to speak for Jenny, but I have seen posts by her about how much she loves skating...for the sake of skating.

I get that sense from her too.

manleywoman
05-30-2012, 03:17 AM
Amazing both she and Lucinda Ruh not only both survived, but are as optimistic as they are.

essence_of_soy
05-30-2012, 03:34 AM
Amazing both she and Lucinda Ruh not only both survived, but are as optimistic as they are.

Same.

Great that Jenny has channelled her experiences into a blossoming career as a journalist, too.

I hope her essays become a compendium of sorts in the near future.

jeffisjeff
05-30-2012, 04:37 AM
Great that Jenny has channelled her experiences into a blossoming career as a journalist, too.

It is in her genes. Her dad is a producer for Frontline on PBS, with an impressive record.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/12/AR2010041203999.html

kirkbiggestfan
05-30-2012, 05:05 AM
WTF!?!

Very sad when you know her coaches were someone who became a "life" coach and the other one was a legendary and experienced coach at that point. She has worked with the very best in the business and in my opinion coaches need better training on how to deal with eating disorders.

RD
05-30-2012, 06:19 AM
The striking thing about all this to me is that she said that no one said she was overweight- she simply fell into the disorder pattern as a last resort of control. Again, I'm sure that this is an extreme case as far as what members of the skating community deal with every day, but I wonder how many more are out there. Perhaps it is more than we think...

nlloyd
05-30-2012, 06:38 AM
I agree, RD. I think also think it's not that unusual for parents to cross the line between being supportive of their kids and needing to see their kids succeed at almost any cost. Part of the latter may come from parents living out their own ambitions through their kids, but I think it is also the result of not being equipped to deal with the success their kids encounter. They begin to enjoy being in the limelight, are reluctant to disappoint coaches, federations, the public, and the media, need to recuperate the costs they have covered etc. and gradually move from being their kid's advocate to their adversary. I have certainly seen some really unhealthy relationships between parents and elite children skaters.

muffinbiscuit
05-30-2012, 12:39 PM
Jenny's Mom died of breast cancer right before she moved from Evy Scotwald. This certainly didn't help Jenny in dealing with the pressures of this sport.

MacMadame
05-30-2012, 03:19 PM
No kidding. I am :eek: that when her parents and coaches found out about her eating disorder, she didn't get any help. What kind of foolishness is that? Even if she was managing to skate well regardless, no accomplishment in skating is worth the sacrifice of your child's or student's long-term health.
I was pretty pissed when I read that. But then I realized we're only getting Jenny's perspective. I have a kid who is struggling with depression and I know that I can't *make* him do anything and he often does do things that are counter-productive in spite of my best efforts to get him to do other things. Maybe Jenny's coaches and parents would tell you that they tried very hard to get Jenny to go into therapy or to stop doing X, Y & Z but she wouldn't cooperate.

Also, her dad was dealing with the death of his wife and her sister was no longer living with her so it's possible they really didn't know the extent of what was going on.

We just don't know.

overedge
05-30-2012, 03:52 PM
I was pretty pissed when I read that. But then I realized we're only getting Jenny's perspective. I have a kid who is struggling with depression and I know that I can't *make* him do anything and he often does do things that are counter-productive in spite of my best efforts to get him to do other things. Maybe Jenny's coaches and parents would tell you that they tried very hard to get Jenny to go into therapy or to stop doing X, Y & Z but she wouldn't cooperate.

Also, her dad was dealing with the death of his wife and her sister was no longer living with her so it's possible they really didn't know the extent of what was going on.

We just don't know.

I see your point, but the wording she used was "my dad and coaches found out about my eating disorder, but nothing was done to get me the help I needed". I didn't read that as her not being cooperative with efforts to get help.

PDilemma
05-30-2012, 04:33 PM
The striking thing about all this to me is that she said that no one said she was overweight- she simply fell into the disorder pattern as a last resort of control.

Because the majority of eating disorders are not about weight, they are about control. All of the obsession with never suggesting that anyone is overweight lest you cause an eating disorder is rather absurd as the mental health profession has long ago determined that they often have little or nothing to do with weight and body image and everything to do with control.

As for her father and her coaches doing nothing, when I was teaching, there were occasionally girls with all the signs and symptoms of eating disorders. Counselors, teachers, and sometimes athletic coaches would approach their parents and the responses would be that it was all under control or that the daughter was just concerned with health and nutrition or that if it were really bad they would do something but it was not bad enough, etc...Parents can see a lot and still choose denial. These are usually high achieving kids and parents assume that their high achiever has it together all the time.