I’ve been inspired by many athletes in the public eye such as the following:
– Dame Kelly Holmes
– Victoria Pendleton
– Freddie Flintoff
– Ricky Hatton
– Oscar De La Hoya
– Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
– Paul Gascoigne
– Gary Speed
– Marcus Trescothick
– Jonny Wilkinson
These people have achieved success in their chosen sports, but have all suffered depression. Without scratching the surface, you could say what have they got to feel bad about. They are successful and have fame.
Ok let’s get it clear, it is a disability and depression is indiscriminate. I don’t know the individual details of the people mentioned, but I’d like to briefly highlight some common themes, that may of played apart:
– The quest for perfectionism, whilst holding back the voice of self-criticism. This can lead to self harm.
– Not believing you are enough. The endless quest for pushing boundaries and achievement.
– The fear of getting it wrong and the judgement that follows.
– Always having to be strong and capable. Not admitting to struggles like its a weakness. It’s not.
– Loss, rejection, failure. When it’s repeated, it’s almost as if it’s a sign that you are a failure. Your not.
– Isolation, either self imposed or through work commitments. People are social beings, and not designed to be alone, hence the punishment which solitary confinement offers in jail.
– Injury or sickness. The break of structure outside your normal day to day duties, and the break of your support structure is very hard.
– Loss of identity. Change of roles or retirement and the search for a new identity.
– Defining yourself solely by your job and believing that once that is finished that you’ll have no value. This is not true.
If you reread the above themes and take the sports element out, how many of those items can relate to the ordinary person?
To believe that athletes are beyond the struggles of ordinary people is incorrect. Like any disability, depression doesn’t care who it chooses to live with.
If we expect our heroes to have superhuman feats of perfectionism, then what are the unrealistic expectations that we holding for ourselves?
How is this constant comparison and the feeling of not being good enough, conducive to you believing that you are enough?
Who hasn’t made a mistake?
Who do you know personally who is perfect?
I doubt there is such a person. So don’t pressure yourself into being this ideal as you don’t have to be other than what you are. You are enough.
Thanks for reading!
Please support Dame Kelly Holmes fundraising for mind in her 2016 London Marathon attempt:
Also I’ve mentioned it in previous blogs but please continue to support Emma Chandler, whose cousin Jay Devlin recently committed suicide. Emma is undertaking a Tough Mudder event and raising money in Jay’s memory for (CALM) the campaign against living miserably, offers men support and information when they’re down or in crisis at http://www.thecalmzone.net. They exist to prevent suicide, the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. Latest figures show that 76% of all UK suicides were male. Please visit the link below and support a worthy cause.