People can often look at successful athletes and think that they have it all, the perfect life because they get to spend so much time doing what they love but unfortunately, sometimes this couldn’t be further from the truth. Around 70% or 80% of athletes will go through some kind of depression or anxiety at some point in their sporting career and nobody talks about it. The thing for athletes is that we are basically told that we are supposed to be this big macho, strong superhuman being. We have everything that we could possibly imagine to get physically stronger but there are very few people who really look out for our mental health. There might be some coaches who you are able to talk to and help you a bit, who could have possibly gone through a similar experience themselves. Unfortunately, it’s really something that we have to figure out on our own, we are in the dark with what seems like there is no way out.
Day in day out we train, we stick to a strict regimen so that we as athletes can reach our full potential and challenge our own limits. With all this training comes injury, injury constantly plagues athletes throughout their career. What happens when we get injured? We tell our coach and get the help we need from a trained professional. Sometimes the injury isn’t always physical sometimes it’s mental. Would you not want to get the same help from a trained professional? Instead, we just push it into a corner in the hope that it will just go away itself. This might help for a while but eventually, it will start to affect you and your training, even still we don’t want to talk to anyone about it. We don’t want to talk about it because we have this fear that it will only portray us as weak, that people around us will only see the mental illness rather than seeing a strong, confident athlete. It’s not the dark place that we are in or the dark times that we are going thought that scares us but rather what we fear the most is that people will look at us as weak, as broken, that they will treat us different. Even though they think of us as weak because of it, in the matter of fact it only makes us stronger the experiences and challenges that we go through only make us stronger in the end.
Athletes are always shown to us in superb strength and confidence. In our society we’re meant to show complete strength, we’re supposed to be these strong superhuman beings who are considered to be indestructible but unfortunately at times we don’t feel that way. We need to show people that it is okay to be upset, that we don’t always have to be portrayed as these superhumans. Mental health is not always going to be a weakness, at the time it might seem like that but don’t be afraid to be a weakness, at the time it might seem like that but don’t be afraid to talk about it and get the help that you need. You can find out that sometimes what seems like your biggest weakness can turn into your greatest strength. That through the whole situation you will come out stronger than you ever were before, it might take some time but eventually, you will get there.