In life, there are plenty of things that constantly maintain the attention of the world around us. Whether it is the Oscars, or what name Tristan Thompson and Khloe Kardashian’s baby will have, or what President Trump is tweeting about, or how the Browns would be foolish to not draft former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley first overall in the upcoming NFL Draft, there is plenty of noise that can distract everyone from almost anything else.
With all the noise that is constantly grabbing the attention of everyone else, it is really easy for problems that people deal with to be pushed to the wayside. People are always attached to their phones, constantly checking social media to keep up with the constant noise. So when Cleveland Cavaliers star forward tweeted this out early this morning, it easily captured a lot of people’s attention:
I’ve never been comfortable sharing much about myself. I thought about mental health as someone else’s problem. I’ve realized I need to change that. https://t.co/355HcQw3Ei
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) March 6, 2018
As mentioned before, with all the constant noise from celebrities or politicians it is easy for everyone else’s problems to be pushed to the wayside. Whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, it takes a ton of courage to share with anyone that you suffer from a mental health disorder.
That is why when Love, an extremely prominent athlete in the sports world, uses his platform to share his problems with a countless number of strangers online, it takes an insurmountable amount of courage. Throughout this season, Love has been killing it for the Cavs with some of his best numbers ever wearing the Wine and Gold and few people would have guessed that he suffered from a severe panic attack after the Cavs’ game against the Atlanta Hawks.
The thing is with mental health disorders is it does not care who you are, where you come from, who your family is, your race, your gender, anything at all. When it comes to any form of mental health disorders, it will squeeze all the energy out of you and control every single aspect of your day to day life. So when it comes from a professional athlete like Love, it definitely brings it into the light and into the conversation that everyone should be having.
Speaking of gender, Love also really touches base on what every man in life has heard in some form growing up:
“I know it from experience. Growing up, you figure out really quickly how a boy is supposed to act. You learn what it takes to ‘be a man.’ It’s like a playbook: Be strong. Don’t talk about your feelings. Get through it on your own. So for 29 years of my life, I followed that playbook. And look, I’m probably not telling you anything new here. These values about men and toughness are so ordinary that they’re everywhere … and invisible at the same time, surrounding us like air or water. They’re a lot like depression or anxiety in that way.”
While mental health problems obviously do not only impact women, the fact that Love so perfectly sums up the stigma that men face when it comes to mental health disorders.
Growing up, every guy has probably heard from someone, whether it was their dad, or teacher, or coach, or anyone really that you should “toughen up” or “be a man” instead of being able to talk about the things that are bothering you and pick yourself up by the bootstraps. The problem is when you have a mental health disorder so debilitating, you are not even able to get said boots on because of how much control your anxiety or depression has over you.
After Love shared how young men are preconditioned to not speak up all their life, he further expands the conversation to share how mental health disorders impact everyone:
“Mental health isn’t just an athlete thing. What you do for a living doesn’t have to define who you are. This is an everyone thing. No matter what our circumstances, we’re all carrying around things that hurt — and they can hurt us if we keep them buried inside. Not talking about our inner lives robs us of really getting to know ourselves and robs us of the chance to reach out to others in need. So if you’re reading this and you’re having a hard time, no matter how big or small it seems to you, I want to remind you that you’re not weird or different for sharing what you’re going through.”
He has a point. The fact of the matter is, someone reading this article right now knows someone who suffers from a mental health disorder. According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, approximately one in every five people experience issues from mental illness in a year. One in every twenty-five people experience a mental health disorder so severe, that it can impact their everyday life.
With it being so common for so many people to suffer from mental health disorder, Kevin Love is 100% right. You are not weird or different to share what you are going through. It is totally normal to speak up and share what is bothering you. Instead of being distracted by all the other problems in the world and sweeping this issue under the rug, people should not be afraid to share that they need help from a mental health problem.
Thanks to athletes like Love, maybe there will be someone who feels better to talk about the problems that have been bothering on an emotional level. With time, it will hopefully become hopefully become the norm to talk about mental health without the stigma of being weak, or mentally unstable that it carries. Because it could not be any further from the truth.
You are perfectly normal and it is okay to talk about what is bothering you. Love himself shared that you can reach out to him personally via email ([email protected]), you can always reach out to me on Twitter to talk (@AmNotEvan), and please, if your depression feels so severe that you want to harm yourself please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255). Just know that you are not abnormal, and thanks to athletes like Kevin Love, you are not alone in this fight either.
Thank you to Kevin Love, and anyone else who is brave enough to share their struggle. You are my hero.