How Seeking Help Transformed My Mental Health: My Personal Journey

mental health pro soccer wells thompson

I'd like to share something real personal with you. It's a true, recent story about my life. A story about how seeking help and taking care of your mental health can make a world of difference. 

Lately, life's been quite a struggle for me. However, I'm grateful that every Tuesday at 10:30 AM, you'll find me seated across from my therapist. This routine has become an essential part of my life.

About two months ago, my therapist dropped a suggestion that caught me off guard.

He said, "You know what? It might be a good idea for you to see a psychiatrist."

My initial response was somewhat joking, "Why would I need to see a psychiatrist when I've got you?"

However, he went on to explain his reasoning, provided a referral, and encouraged me to reach out.

So, I decided to give it a shot.

At my initial appointment with my new psychiatrist friend, I began to realize just how drained I had become.I couldn't enjoy the things I used to love, and I was worried all the time. I was grappling with something I hadn't fully acknowledged before – depression. Hearing those words from a professional was truly eye-opening.

Now, here's the deal.

I know how good I have it and how blessed I am. I've also witnessed dire poverty and the harsh realities of how people live, both around the world and right in our own communities. So, how could I possibly be depressed? I often told myself I should be grateful, but that seemed to sometimes overshadow the very real struggles I was facing.

The psychiatrist prescribed Zoloft for me and adjusted another medication, and I can't stress enough how much it's transformed my life. It's like a cloud has been lifted. My perspective has shifted. The towering mountains that used to represent my problems have now become manageable hills. I feel like I can think clearly, and I'm no longer weighed down by every little thing.

Let me be clear, though – I'm not suggesting that medication is the answer for everyone. What I am saying is that having a conversation with someone who understands, someone who's trained to help, can make a world of difference.

Without a doubt, I was battling depression during my pro career. Getting help would have undoubtedly boosted my performance on the field and enhanced my overall quality of life. That's precisely why I'm sharing my story – to turn my pain into purpose, to offer you hope, and to encourage you to take the steps I didn't.

Here's the truth: no matter who you are or what you do, you're not alone in your struggles. Even as a professional athlete, while I was living my dream, I was grappling with depression. But I never truly acknowledged it. I can only imagine how much of a difference it would've made in my life, both on and off the field, if I had sought help sooner from someone who could guide me through it.

NO SHAME: Whatever you're going through, I want you to know this: you're not alone, and there's absolutely no shame in seeking help. In fact, it's one of the most valuable gifts you can give to yourself. It's also brave and courageous to do it! I'm immensely grateful that I took that step, and I only wish I had done it sooner.

The Power of Influence

My therapist's gentle suggestion led me to a life-changing visit to a psychiatrist. It's a testament to the profound influence of our relationships.

Every interaction we have can impact someone's life. Just as I was encouraged to seek help, we can inspire positive change in others too. By openly discussing mental health and offering support, we normalize these conversations and break down stigmas. You may be the lifeline someone needs to seek help.

A Challenge for YOU:

I challenge you to take notice of those in your life.
I challenge you to share your own struggles openly.
I challenge you to engage in honest conversations about mental health.
I challenge you to be the kind presence that nudges someone towards healing.

Keep building resilience!

Wells Thompson

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