Attended IMG Academy (FL) and Don Bosco Prep (NJ) for high school.
Student-athlete and Psychology major at Kenyon College.
Mental Health Overview
Mental illness has been the most challenging setback in my life. I have been diagnosed with various mental health disorders over what has nearly been ten years, including depression, various anxiety disorders, and PTSD.
I began struggling with many aspects of my life that came naturally to me, such as doing well in school, being a top athlete, and having a strong social network. I associated my lack of success with being incompetent as an individual, instead of having an underlying mental illness.
After I eventually realized that my mental health was the root cause of this all, I decided not to speak up. The stigma associated with mental health is real. As a highly competitive athlete, I did not want to be perceived as weak. I refused to put myself in that vulnerable situation. I went on without talking about what I was going through for years.
I was scared to speak up.
More About My Story
I am fortunate enough to have an unbelievably supportive family who wanted to provide me with the resources I needed. However, for a while, I refused to let this happen. I allowed my pride and ignorance get the best of me. I would tell myself that if I went to a therapy session or worked with a Psychiatrist, I would never forgive myself; I thought that it would mean I was accepting that I was not only weak but “different.”
Over time my mind became so unhealthy that I could no longer function adequately. I went through phases where I would shut down. I was unable to take care of myself because I would feel so overwhelmed. I would lay on my bed, close my eyes, and wish everything I was thinking and feeling would go away.
Football was an escape for me in high school. It allowed me to put everything I was going through aside, and focus on the game I love. My life ended up becoming dependent on my on-field performance, which was not healthy.
Once I got to college, life became much more demanding and I struggled immensely. After a disasterous freshman year, I finally took the initiative to take care of my mind. I made my mental health a priority, and it paid off.
If there was one thing I would have done differently in the past, it would have been to speak up and seek help sooner rather than later. I believe that if I did so, I could have prevented a tremendous amount of collateral damage from occurring that negatively impacted my life as I knew it.
However, I understand that many athletes and people alike may not be open to doing this, especially at first. Therefore, I encourage others who are facing mental health struggles to be more proactive and to take care of their minds on a regular basis, especially during this time.