ADDRESSING EMOTIONAL PAIN
Unhappiness is something which everyone feels at one time or another, usually due to a particular cause. A general low mood can include:
+ feeling anxious or panicky
+ low self-esteem
However, a low mood will tend to lift after a few days or weeks. Making some small changes in your life can usually improve your mood. These might include:
+ resolving a difficult situation
+ talking about your problems
+ keeping structure to your days
+ getting more sleep
+ eating clean and healthy food
+ finding quiet time away from social media.
A low mood that doesn't go away can be a sign of depression. Depression is different from feeling down or sad. A person experiencing depression will feel intense emotions of negativity, which stay with them for a prolonged period and that can feel disconnected from the relationships and life events around them in a way that unhappiness does not.
Symptoms of depression can include the following:
+ low mood lasting two weeks or more
+ not getting any enjoyment out of life
+ feeling hopeless
+ feeling tired or lacking energy
+ physical aches and pains
+ loss of sex drive
+ not being able to concentrate on everyday things
+ comfort eating or losing your appetite
+ sleeping more than usual or being unable to sleep
+ having suicidal thoughts or thoughts about harming yourself
+ strong feelings of guilt or worthlessness
+ strong desire to avoid other people
+ preoccupation with death.
Depression can also be connected to experiences dating back to childhood, bereavement, family problems or other life-changing events. Sometimes, there may be no clear reason for a person's depression but, whatever the original cause, identifying what may affect how that person feels and the things that are likely to trigger their depression is an important first step.
Depression in sport
In recent years, acknowledgement of depression has increased within the elite athlete population. Despite the large number of athletes talking about their battle with the illness and our knowledge of depressive criteria, prevalence and treatment, a great deal remains unknown. Previously, involvement in sport has been identified as positive and beneficial for self-esteem, anxiety and stress. However, recent research suggests sport can enhance stress levels and that high-performance sport in a competitive setting can in some cases cause distress. We also know common transitions experienced by professional sportspeople such as career end (and its link to sporting identity) or being dropped or injured can be triggers for depression.
Support is available
Sporting Chance offers a range of services to professional sportspeople to help with their emotional wellbeing and mental health.
It is important to recognise these feelings are not uncommon or a sign of weakness and that many people who have experienced the same symptoms have gone on to successfully understand and manage their feelings (sometimes with prescribed medication).
Identifying that there might be a problem is an important and courageous first step. The next, equally brave, step is to talk to someone about it and ask for help.
Those who are eligible for Sporting Chance’s services can call or text our helpline or e-mail us. You can find the information of how to get in touch here.
Sporting Chance offers a range of services to individuals and organisations that want to better understand emotional and mental health in sport:
If you are feeling low and want some help, please contact us.
We have a nationwide network of therapists and counsellors enabling our clients to access confidential, professional support.
In some cases, we may refer individuals for a psychiatric assessment.
Sporting Chance offers an education and training programme to raise awareness about emotional and mental health in sport.
If you would like to find out more or book a seminar, please click here.