My Story

An athlete’s life with mental illness


Ever since the beginning of high school, I have been living my life anxious, confused, scared, along with so many more emotions. I could be happy one moment, and then be worried the next. Or suddenly super scared but then feel fine just as quickly. Even when I’m telling my story, I get nervous that someone won’t look at me the same, or will think I am over exaggerating. I put so much pressure on myself as a student athlete to be the very best, but who doesn’t want that? I want to make my parents proud and not have them worry about me. I want to be the very best at softball and volleyball, as well as succeed academically. What I have learned though is that not everything goes as planned. Over time, and with a lot of thoughts that everything was my fault, I have come out okay. Because to me, God has a plan for everyone. And he wouldn’t give you something if he didn’t think you couldn’t handle it.

Freshman year of high school I tore my acl in my left knee. It was the hardest thing I’d ever faced. That was the year my life felt like it was falling apart. I had a lot of heartaches. I was scared, I didn’t know if I was going to be okay again, let alone be able to play sports at the same level. I had some really good moments too, but at the time it felt like the bad times outnumbered the good.

Then in summer of 2019, I was finally able to play sports again, and that’s when I thought I was going to truly be okay. I wasn’t stressed with wondering when I was going to be able to go back to sports. The first softball tournament back I knew I was good to go. Of course there was still some overthinking which led to anxiety, which led to second guessing on the field.

Sophomore year I had a handful of injuries. Yes, I know you’re probably thinking that I get hurt a lot, and I know. Trust me, it sucks, especially because it’s all happening in my left leg. But during the 2019-20 school year, I tore my hamstring (left leg), broke my finger (left hand), and there was a day where I broke down crying in every class period. I didn’t want to be at school. It was just one of those days where I wanted to be left alone, in my bed, but wherever I went there were people around. It made it even harder because those people would ask if I was okay, or if I needed to talk. If anything it just made it worse, and made me start crying even more.

During the summer of 2020, during tryouts for a new select team, I strained my quad (left leg).  At that tryout I felt defeated. I was so upset. I remember telling my parents how I made such a bad impression because I had to leave mid-tryout. I got home and threw a fit, I cried. Heck, I was so mad I punched my pillow. I wasn’t sure why this kept happening to me. I was having so many thoughts, I was stressed, I was confused, I was mad.

Things have improved. I’m back playing sports at a high level. So much has happened, but I’m proud of how I’ve pushed through. Whenever I get those negative thoughts, I try to just relax. When I feel stressed I will usually color, for anxiety I will try and think of something positive, or a memory I want to relive. When I’m confused I like to just try and do what’s in front of me at that moment, so I’m not thinking as much. I will say that since the beginning of high school, I definitely know how to control my emotions. I’m only a junior right now, so I don’t know how the rest of my junior year will be, or my senior year. Even though I am still learning about myself, and my emotions, I’m ready for whatever life decides to throw me.