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My experience with mental health and sport

Most people would never think that I have suffered from mental health because I’m involved in sport, I have a loving family and I just graduated from college, but I have. In my last semester of my college degree I totally lost myself. I wasn’t the happy, outgoing, motivated person I always am. Lots of things in my life built up at once and I felt like I was trapped in a bubble. I stopped going home every weekend to my part time job, my five year relationship was coming to an end, I was finishing college with not a notion what I was going to do next, I gave up boxing my passion to do a sport I didn’t like (weightlifting) and I spent a good bit of time with negative people who I usually wouldn’t surround myself with.

It was my final semester of college and I usually hand in my work in advance of deadlines but this time I handed in my final year thesis late because I couldn’t focus on the task at hand. I remember studying with one of my good buddies for around 3 hours and I stared at the same 6 lines for those 3 hours. I had lost my way and kept saying that “I didn’t care anymore”. I just wasn’t myself. I stopped looking after myself and was eating rubbish food day in day out.

Lucky enough I had a friend who led me on the straight and narrow. He told me to stay away from the negative people and to go home. After a few weeks after finishing college and returning home I began to feel like myself again, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. I went back home to Cork and began a new job that I love and I was surrounded by positive, like-minded people like myself. To keep my head in a positive mindset and not allow myself to fall back into a negative state of mind I like to sit at my pond at home and write in my diary or read a book. I think it is important to give yourself time to reflect on things that are happening in your life. I also like to meditate. I usually do this after my morning training sessions for just 5-10 minutes while listening to some Debussy (Clair de Lune). I feel refreshed and revitalised after meditation. I feel like if we can spend time to sit down and watch the telly and go to the gym for a few hours to exercise our bodies to keep us healthy why can’t we spend only 5 minutes meditating to keep us mentally healthy.  I also like to listen to a bit of Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s music emanates positive vibes and mellow moods and his sapient lyrics help me keep a positive mindset.

Mental health has always had a stigma attached to it for me, I myself find it hard to talk about and I have had this article written for a few months and I have felt the pressure to put it out there publicly. The way I look at it is that if one person reads this and gets something positive from it then I will be happy. Mental health should be spoken about just the same as if someone had a physical injury.

Take home messages

  • If you ever feel like this, talk to someone, they most likely have been through something similar and will help you overcome the feeling of being alone.
  • Reflection: I now like to reflect and meditate, this helps me keep all the negative people and things out of my life and acknowledge the good and bad things on a daily basis.
  • People think that people who train or athletes don’t get depressed but I trained 5 days a week, 3 hour sessions and I still felt it.
  • Surround yourself by good, honest people who reflect the same qualities and morals as yourself.
  • Finally, take a breath and look at the good things in life. Live life and make use of your best qualities.

This article is by Shakira Coonghe Bsc.

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