ATHLETE DEPRESSION: WHY ISN’T IT TALKED ABOUT MORE.
For the past 13 years of my life I’ve been an athlete. I’ve done everything from basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, track, even competitive jump roping. For the last 8 years of my life though, I have put my heart into running track. It saved me. It changed my life.
In middle school I was “fast” so my mom figured why not try it in high school. It turns out I really did enjoy running after I got into it. I have made friends who I wouldn’t be able to replace in this lifetime or the next, I’ve traveled, I’ve grown. But here I am today, depressed and feeling lost. I’ve officially graduated college and I am no longer an athlete. When you’ve participated in something that was structured for so long how could I not feel the way that I feel as I am sitting here typing this post? It was all I’ve known for these past 8 years.
Track gave me a sense of belonging, it was the only thing there for me when I had nothing else. If you were an athlete, you probably spent half your life training for that game, that meet, that dual, or that competition that only happened while you were in season. Being an athlete is essentially a career. I often have this thought of “well who I am, now that I’m not an athlete”. You lose your sense of identity, sense of belonging and importance.
So the question still remains… WHY ISN’T ATHLETE DEPRESSION TALKED ABOUT MORE? We’re often held to a higher standard. More is expected of us and who would we be if we couldn’t uphold that standard. Ask a friend how they’re doing, if you are able recognize a change in the person they’ve become. Give them the option of indulging in activities after being an athlete, just be their support system.
To anyone who feels what I feel after reading this post. Just know that what your feeling is OKAY and you are not alone. Find ways you can be productive, it won’t give you time to dwell on it.