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Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba – January 30, 2019, Winnipeg, MB – Today we observe Bell Let’s Talk Day. For me, this day represents our efforts as a society to destigmatize mental illness and to accept those with lived experience as a whole. In other words, we are attempting to take away the fears and preconceived notions we have both as people with lived experience and those among us who fear what we do not understand.

Over the past several weeks, you may have seen several posts from me on the Paralympic Alumni page about a project I am creating in conjunction with the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba that we are calling Beyond the Glory. This project aims to assist Paralympians as they transition from lives centred around active competition to life outside sport.

As a former Paralympian myself, I remember wondering what retirement would be like. As much as I cringed getting up in the morning for practice on cold Winnipeg Winter mornings, there was never a time when I could not imagine swimming anymore. I could not think about what life would be like without sport and did not want to think about it either.

I worried about what I would lose: the admiration and respect of friends, family and the wider community. The ability to travel to places to which I may never have gone otherwise; the relationships I had built up over the years with people I might not see for months, but once we were together it was if we never were apart.

I felt lucky because I was able to go to school while training. I became involved in a relationship which resulted in a marriage that gave me a son of whom I am incredibly proud. I even managed to begin a working career while I was still actively competing. I thought my life was pretty normal and that I wouldn’t have any trouble adjusting to life outside sport.

When I retired, I experienced many negative thoughts, feelings and emotions. I felt like everything I did had to be perfect. I experienced failures in my working career which I took very personally since failure was—quite fortunately for me I guess—not something I had to undergo with very much regularity as an athlete.

As a result, I think I lived for many years with anxiety and depression which, in addition to not being diagnosed, was unbeknownst to me.

It took me several years and something of an ongoing journey through therapy, but I think I can say that while they never go away, I can control these thoughts and feelings most of the time.

As I look back on my career outside sport which has now spanned several years, I don’t think I have had the same success as a working person that I believe I experienced as an athlete – this proved to be something of a surprise to me. I anticipated that my reputation as an athlete, my intelligence and my ability to focus on education and work the same way I had concentrated on swimming would enable me to experience the same success in my professional career that I had in the pool.

I realize just how unprepared for retirement I was and how the limitations of my disability compounded and exacerbated some of the challenges and struggles I had to go through. I wished there had been a place to go where I could have learned both from and with others who were in the same place in their lives like myself.

I am creating Beyond the Glory as a response to what I feel I have gone through so that hopefully this transition might be even just a little bit easier for others than I believe it was for me. In doing so, I hope to honour the efforts and sacrifices made by others on my behalf and in my interests, which allowed me to experience high performance competition to the extent I did, to reap its rewards and celebrate its successes, and to have the personal and professional life I have had since I retired.

If you’re a Paralympic athlete, please consider being a volunteer participant in Beyond the Glory. It will only take an hour or two of your time for eight weeks. And if nothing else you will be assisting me and the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba to determine whether what I have written about here rings true for others as well and if so, what might we do to assist our future Paralympians when the time comes for them to move on to the next stages of there lives.

To volunteer and to join the conversation, please sign up at

Thank you!  – Tim McIsaac

Everyone is invited to join the conversation on Bell Let’s Talk Day by sending messages of support across multiple platforms to drive both awareness and action in mental health. Today, Bell will donate 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for each of the following interactions, at no extra cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access:

  • Talk: Every mobile and every long distance call made by Bell wireless and phone customers
  • Text: Every text message sent by Bell wireless customers
  • Twitter: Every tweet and retweet using #BellLetsTalk, featuring the special Bell Let’s Talk emoji, and Bell Let’s Talk Day video view at
  • Facebook: Every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video at and use of the Bell Let’s Talk frame
  • Instagram: Every Bell Let’s Talk Day video view at
  • Snapchat: Every use of the Bell Let’s Talk filter and video view

To learn more, please visit


About CSCM: 
The Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba (CSCM) was created as one of the many legacies of the 1999 Pan American Games held in Winnipeg. Today, CSCM is the hub for high-performance sport in Manitoba. A proud member of the Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network, CSCM works to provide a world-class, multi-sport daily training environment for athletes and coaches through integrated services and programs in the fields of physiology, strength and conditioning, nutrition, psychology and support services.

À propos du CSCM : 
Le Centre canadien du sport Manitoba (CCSM) fut établi à titre de l’un des nombreux legs des Jeux panaméricains de 1999 à Winnipeg. Aujourd’hui, le CCSM est la plateforme du sport de haut niveau au Manitoba. En tant que fier membre du Réseau des instituts du sport olympique et paralympique, le CCSM œuvre en vue d’offrir un environnement d’entrainement multidisciplinaire de classe mondiale pour les athlètes et les entraineurs par le biais de services et de programmes intégrés dans les domaines de la physiologie, du conditionnement physique, de la nutrition, de la psychologie et des services de soutien.

For more information please contact/ Pour renseignements :
Jeff Powell
General Manager, Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba
Directeur général, Centre canadien du sport Manitoba
Direct Line/ Ligne directe: 204.474.7148
Email/ Courriel: