Mental health is for everyone: Here's how athletes deal with it

·3 min read

Exceptional skill and incredible performances reap rich rewards for professional athletes, regardless of the sport. Recently, many stars from the world of sport have taken advantage of their celebrity status to draw attention to an issue that is far more important than sports: mental health.

Discover what inspiring athletes, both Indian and International, have to say about mental health, depression, anxiety, and other common difficulties. We hope that these thoughts show you that you are not alone on your mental health journey.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps seemed to have the world at his fingertips. 

Phelps became a swimming legend after dominating the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

A 2009 picture of him consuming marijuana and a 2014 DUI conviction tarnished his ‘hero’ image. Phelps was banned from participating for six months after his second DUI in 2014. 

Phelps sought therapy in Arizona for depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

Abby Wambach

WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - JULY 06:  Abby Wambach of USA reacts during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Group C match between Sweden and USA at Arena IM Allerpark on July 6, 2011 in Wolfsburg, Germany.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - JULY 06: Abby Wambach of USA reacts during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 Group C match between Sweden and USA at Arena IM Allerpark on July 6, 2011 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

During her 10-year career with the US Women's National Team, Abby Wambach won several Olympics medals, trophies, and ‘Athlete-of-the-Year’ awards. 

Wambach still holds the scoring record for the USWNT. 

Wambach, on the other hand, is more proud of her mental health victories. 

Wambach sought treatment after being arrested for DUII in April 2016 to overcome her years-long drug and alcohol addiction.

Kevin Love

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 19: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts during the fourth quarter of the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on April 19, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 19: Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts during the fourth quarter of the NBA game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena on April 19, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Kevin Love experienced his first panic attack while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers at the age of 29. 

He began seeing a therapist secretly, fearful of being perceived as weak.

Ankita Raina

The fear of the unknown and the inability to control circumstances are normal. India’s Tennis player, Ankita Raina, has worry issues too. Individual athletes confront additional difficulties. Due to budgetary limitations, she is usually alone, without a team or coach. Parting from family for months due to a pandemic becomes tough. It's not easy to manage tournament pressure. 

Ankita attempted to consider her options and what she can do in a given circumstance. It helps this great Indian tennis player relax and find a solution when she thinks of the worst-case scenario.

Harmeet Desai

Harmeet, India’s Table Tennis player had a difficult time emotionally since the pandemic started. A COVID-19 test resulted in his father being hospitalised, and he felt powerless and spent hours on the phone with his mother. 

In his most excellent form before the lockdown in 2020, he had a few concerns about himself and his pace. 

Meditating, talking to a life coach, and remembering times when he had recovered from a difficult period all helped.

Maana Patel

It was tough for Maana to be away from the pool for so long. 

A lousy performance would make her worry about facing the world and how others would see her. Maana was terrified to perform again. 

Once she began training, Maana, the ace swimmer took it easy. She sought help from a therapist when she became worried.

Zeel Desai

When Zeel had to travel for her tennis matches, she felt homesick more than anxious. 

The uncertainty of being away from home is difficult. 

To give herself some space and not to overburden herself, she decided to take a break. Her week-long break from tennis was welcome.

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