2/3/2021: One Day, Two Great Athlete Mental Health Stories

We celebrate athletes & ppl of influence when they share their MH battles. Unfortunately however, what the media often does, is treat the “characters” like their darlings for two or so wks, as they wait to prey on the next “victim” they can sink their teeth into, for the next story. The last person’s share becomes old news.

Pretty incredible day yesterday as 2 MLB players came out w their stories on the SAME day.  One, written by Jeff Fletcher, involved the highly decorated Andrelton Simmons, who’d opted out of the final days of the 2020 season w the Angels. The other, written by Jeff Passan of ESPN, involved Drew Robinson, who’d had an up & down career between the big leagues & the minors.

Here’s what’s special about what BOTH men (& the reporters who covered them) did in sharing – they didn’t just throw out a disorder label or a term like “suicide,” for headlines.  They both explained the “stuff” they were dealing w, & in Drew’s case, going all the way back to childhood.

From Drew’s story, a 45 minute read, we learned about a divorce of his parents at a young age that did a number on strained relationships in his family. We learned about a relationship w his older brother – also a pro baseball player, & how they hadn’t exactly been the most warm & fuzzy to one another.  We learned abt a personal relationship w a girlfriend – on again, off again for many yrs as Drew struggled to decide if he was good enough for her…for them. And we learned abt thoughts in his head, he struggled to manage,

With Simmons, he decided not to go as far back, but instead to share what the isolation, & change of the last season w what the entire world was going through, did to his psyche. He spoke abt the empty stadiums, living in isolation, watching more homeless on the streets as he drove to work each day & how it all got to him. Look at how powerful his words are to the common person out there:

“There’s a lot of people out there that are going through stressful times. For different types of reasons. Which brings a lot of fear or anxiety. And I know there’s the fear of seeking help/assistance because of the perception of people thinking there’s something wrong with you, but I think in reality there are way more people than you might think that are going through stressful stuff, which can come in different ways: fear, loss, trauma, problems with loved ones. You’re not alone. You don’t have to keep everything bottled up. Find someone that can help you express your emotions freely and that can assist you with it.”

What both these men provided yesterday – was the “stuff.” They had very different life situations, they dealt w different challenges. One unfortunately attempted while the other didn’t. But they are both here w us now, & both sharing to help others. The “stuff” normalizes the convo way more than any label/diagnosis/or action will. Thank you to both of them!

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