As a mental health counselor, I see individuals in varying levels of crisis. Some of my clients are working through the grief of losing a friend or loved one, while others are overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks that weigh them down.
Any struggle you are facing can feel like the most insurmountable task in the moment. In times of trouble you may not feel able to reach out, or even know who you can reach out to. Athletes and other high-achievers can be especially susceptible to isolation.
A blog post came across my desk recently. It was the first-person account of a father who lost his athlete son to suicide. The post is harrowing and includes multiple triggers about depression and suicide, and if you are able, you should read it. Jack Ross was the father of Yale student, Hale Ross. Hale made a wonderful impact on the Yale cross country team, even as a walk-on. He received awards and accolades for his performance, even being named men’s runner of the week by HepsTrack.com a month before his death.
Suicide and depression are hard things to bring up in everyday conversation. If you know someone who is a survivor of past attempts or who struggles with depression, keep reaching out. The best way to keep your mental and emotional health running on a higher level is to stay in contact with your community. Supportive friends and family can be a resource when you are having a hard time. A simple call to check-in or a weekly group text to make plans can be that extra boost of endorphins that remind someone they are enough.
For my runners, I encourage them to focus on their physical and mental health as a whole effort. Just as I wouldn’t send a runner to a race without the right nutrition and preparation, you also should not expect yourself to perform at peak levels without the self-care and support you need.
“You might be adhering to some version of Steve Prefontaine’s mantra: “nothing less than the best.” You might define yourself primarily by reference to your GPA, graduate school admissions or getting that perfect job. One day, you might attain a different perspective, where you can appreciate that bumps in life — even severe bumps — can be navigated, that there is more than one route to a happy life and that your true worth as a person ultimately is measured not by career achievements or material successes but by the lives you touch along the journey.” – Jack Hale
Please reach out to me or someone you trust if you are struggling. I caution my clients, and I would caution you, please monitor and meter your time online. Reach out to your network and let a trusted person know that you are struggling. If you find yourself at a loss of who to turn to, start with me. I am here to listen and help guide you to a healthier frame of mind.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA) for Teens and Adults