Simone Biles: Mental Health Discussion (Transcription)
Simone Biles Withdraws From The Olympics
Today I want to talk about something really important and it’s all over the news right now. So I’m sure you’ve heard, but Simone Biles withdrew herself from the competitions at the Olympics, and there’s a lot of different things going around that I’m seeing. And unfortunately, one of them is a lot of shame towards her and a lot of hate. I’m also seeing a lot of support, which is awesome because I think if this happened a few years ago, I don’t think there would be as many people speaking out for her. So I think that just shows that we’ve come a long way in terms of mental health, but there are still so many people that just don’t get it and that are shaming her and blaming her. And it just really bothers me as a mental health professional and as a human in general.
Mental Health as a Society
I think it’s important to talk about how we talk about mental health as a society and how we treat people who have a mental illness or mental health issues. And just the stigma, I think we’ve come a really long, far away with these, with the stigma. I think it’s gotten so much better, but there’s still a lot of people out there that are just not getting it. That mental health is so, so, so important. And clearly, mental health can be even more important than physical health. If you look at what Simone Biles said about, she felt fine, sorry, she felt fine physically. She didn’t feel fine mentally. And that is what caused her to drop out. And that just says a lot because she is at the Olympics, right? Like this huge competition that, you know, most athletes are that’s their end goal is to be an Olympian and she is there and she had to drop out because she’s not okay mentally. And that takes so much courage.
Put Yourself in Simone Biles Shoes
Can you imagine everyone in the world staring at you because you have gold medals and you’re this amazing Olympian and they’re expecting you to do so? Well, that’s a lot of pressure. I can’t even imagine how she felt and I totally understand why she might not be okay mentally because of that. You know, I think people are just thinking that she quit and she’s calling, I’m seeing people calling her a quitter. That’s not, that’s not the case. You know, if you’re not okay mentally, then you can’t do what you do physically. If you look at it this way, think about a time that you were extremely stressed out and overwhelmed. Maybe let’s say at work extremely stressed, overwhelmed. It’s been a really rough week. And you sent an email that was a mistake. And it was a pretty big mistake because you’re not in the right headspace to be working because you’re just so stressed that it’s affecting you mentally. It’s, it’s very similar circumstances, right? Like you’re not okay to send that email. You made a mistake because you weren’t in the right headspace. She did the same thing. She said that if she would have competed in the Headspace that she was in, she might’ve made a silly mistake that could have caused her physical harm. Right. She could have injured herself physically. And then what would happen to her career?
Mental Health is Important on a Daily Basis
So long story short, I just want people to understand that mental health is so important and we have to be okay mentally in order to do things that we do on a daily basis, whether it’s physical things or working, or taking care of our families, whatever that might be, if you’re not okay, then it’s, you’re not going to be able to do what you have to do on a daily basis. And I applaud her so much for being able to step back on something so important. And knowing that every single person in this world is kind of looking at her and she knows, I’m sure that she was going to get backlash for it. And that’s really sad that she had to even think that because she shouldn’t get backlash for it. So I just want us to just be kind to each other and know that you don’t know what people are going through and you can’t put yourself in that position. If you don’t know exactly what they’re going through. So for the people who are throwing hate at her and judging her and calling her quitter, I would love to see you go to the Olympics and have that amount of pressure on you and perform because I guarantee you it’s way harder than you can ever imagine.
Please Be Kind About Mental Health
So be kind and talk about mental health, talk about how you feel mentally. I’ve been very expressive to people that I also have anxiety, and sometimes it really affects me and I’ve learned to manage it. And I feel like I’m in a good place with it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days. That doesn’t mean I still don’t get anxious. There’s a lot of times I get anxious and there’s a lot of times it can be debilitating. And I learned to pick myself up and I learned to figure it out and I learn what works for me, but that’s taken a lot for me to do that. And it’s okay that I have anxiety. And I also help people with anxiety. I’m a therapist, so I have anxiety and that’s okay. I just want people to understand that it’s okay to talk about it.
It’s OK to not be OK.
It’s okay to not be okay. What’s not okay. Is to judge other people for it, to shame people for it, and to hide it from yourself and not get the help that you need if you need that help. So this is my little Ted talk for the day. And you know, I, I’m just very passionate about this and I want to try my best to break the stigma. So again, please be kind to each other and just understand that you don’t know what people are going through. And if you have a mental illness or you have mental health problems, anxiety, depression, stress, whatever that might be, get help for it. Just talk to someone about it, be open about it. If you feel comfortable because someone else might be suffering in silence and you being able to be open about it might really help them.