I knew people looked at me and saw someone living their dream. I was a young guy, making a life from playing sport. I knew I was lucky, but that made me feel more of a failure. Like I had no right to be unhappy, no right to be depressed. I had everything I’d ever wanted and I still felt nothing. Just empty. As if there was no light left. I couldn’t say anything to the boys on the team. I was too worried about what they would think of me. I didn’t want to bring them down.
But I began missing practices. I couldn’t face it. And my body felt so heavy – I couldn’t get out of bed, sometimes for days. What was the point? Finally, there was a day when I couldn’t make the game. I stayed in my room, just sweating and shaking. I still remember that sound of my heart thudding so hard and so loud in my chest – like, really banging – and wondering if this is what dying felt like. The scary part is that I didn’t care, I hoped it would happen. I thought, at least everyone will forgive me for not being good enough.
My uncle was the one who found me alone in my room, and I’ll never forget that moment. He just gave me a hug. That’s when I cried. And that’s when I realised that actually people want to help, they want to be there for you. But you have to talk to them. You have to ask for help.
Life is pretty up and down still, but I know things can be okay. I try to keep to a routine and look after myself. I don’t feel ashamed of needing help to find my balance anymore – whether that is medication or taking time to talk about things. And I’m starting to play sport again. The exercise is good – my mind goes quiet and I just let my body do its thing. I play socially now because what I like most is being with people, enjoying something together, as a team.