(Mont-Tremblant) There were night terrors, then extreme anxiety. Then came suicidal thoughts, which led to self-harm. After 19 years of suffering, Esthéban Archambault found the remedy in 2021 that allows him to stand up to his demons: training.
Friday afternoon, Esthéban Archambault joins us on the terrace of the media center, very close to the finish line. He displays the warm smile of an athlete who has been waiting for this weekend for quite a while. He is also one of the few to take part in the two events of the weekend: the 5150 triathlon on Saturday and the Ironman 70.3 on Sunday.
“Weekends are training,” he says, noting that he’s gearing up for his first full Ironman at the end of August. Just that !
Esthéban Archambault has no memories of his night terrors when he was just a baby. “I was getting up at night and I was having anxiety,” he sums up. That’s what his parents told him.
Over the years, this anxiety got worse. Considerably.
“In third grade, I couldn’t sleep in my bed,” he says. Overnight, I didn’t want to anymore. »
To this day, Esthéban is unaware of the trigger behind this deep anxiety. He believes it all started after he watched a zombie movie with his brother.
“That’s really stupid,” he laughed. But I saw zombies everywhere. They were really big crises for three months. […] I was thinking if the door was locked. I got up to go and bar the door. Nobody had to sleep before me, otherwise it would stress me out. It was like a race to sleep. »
From the height of his 8 years, little Esthéban suffered, even though he was surrounded by a loving family.
The years passed and, once in high school, the young man began to float in an abyssal and unbearable darkness. Suicidal thoughts started, then self-harm.
“I was tired of doing anxiety. I wondered what was the point of living. I had zero fun. It wasn’t worth living for, there was no benefit,” he explains bluntly.
Over the years, Esthéban’s parents have taken him to consult all the specialists possible and imaginable, without ever finding an antidote to his ailments.
“My parents were A1 all along,” he insists twice during our interview. […] It was a pain to live, literally. It’s a curse, the cursed seal. »
“I was exhausted again, but I thought it was useless. A robot, literally. »
Esthéban never attempted suicide, but “it came close”. Often. Until the day when, after a mentally difficult first pandemic year, he started running. Then to swim. He also found a job as a lifeguard. His training tired him enough to allow him to sleep at night; that’s what he needed.
“It’s really from there that I made a comeback in my life. […] I went from doing nothing, on the verge of farting dangerously soon, to playing sports, finding a job. »
One day, while watching the pool, his eye was caught by the Tri-Action Mont-Tremblant logo. In November 2021, he began training for a first triathlon with the help of a coach, Gilbert Ayoub.
Today, Esthéban still lives with his anxiety; it will probably always be there. Some times are more difficult than others. But ultimately, he found his own cure. Training allows him to “outsmart” his brain.
“It’s all just a false impression of life. I’d be surprised if anyone out there thought that about life, he said, pointing at the tourists. I’m the one thinking that. »
The now studying denturology completed his first half Ironman last year in 5h 55min. And here he is embarking on a full Ironman next August.
Esthéban does not cut corners: he will need to surpass himself physically all his life to succeed in defeating his demons.
” A healthy mind in a healthy body. Let’s go, here we go. »
If you need support, are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about someone close to you, call 1-866-CALL (1-866-277-3553). A suicide prevention worker is available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Visit the Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention websiteVisit the Suicide Action Montreal website