Simone Biles made the brave choice to not compete in some of the Olympic gymnastics. She made this choice for her mental health. Biles prioritized her mental health first and new that she was not able to perform her best. Her decision shocked many and caused some people to support and others to criticize. For me, I support Simone Biles and I am proud of her. She prioritized her mental health, she new that she was not at 100%. It did not surprise me that there were negative comments said, as I, myself have gotten rude comments due to my own mental health. I am the same age as Simone Biles and have suffered for years in quiet.
From a young age I suffered with social anxiety.
I struggled with being able to socialize with other children my own age. I could not really make friends. To this day, social anxiety has caused me to stop going places, and even canceling events. I have gone to many parties where the whole time I was in corner and barely spoke a word to anyone. I remember times when I would zone out and find it hard to concentrate. I have been in the middle of talking to people and I will just zone out. My social anxiety has also caused me to quit jobs. Yes, I am getting therapy (Yes, it is helping).
The first time I had depression was when I was in high school. I have been through different things in my life that has really affected me and when I was in high school, I would barely go out. I would mainly just want to sleep and lay in bed all day. It was hard for me to do anything. I had a lack of motivation to do anything and to go anywhere. I have had a few episodes of depression as an adult and it has been hard.
I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. Something could happen and I would not stop thinking about it and constantly worrying. It would replay in my mind; conversations and things that have happened and I would try to figure out what was wrong and I would preplan everything. I have had anxiety attacks, yes this has been embarrassing when this happened at work, school, or church. I have had such bad anxiety that I have been seen talking to myself in the past. I have constantly fatigued, where I have to take naps daily, trouble sleeping at night, and muscle tension where my back feels constantly very tight.
Most of the time, sadly it was adults that would make fun of me. For the most part the adults around me just ignored my mental health needs. When I worked at a few jobs my co workers would just say, “Oh, your so silly, Deborah.” They would talk bad about me behind my back about my mental health problems and say things like, “The only thing she can do is fold jeans.” Reading and seeing the response to Simone Biles triggered the bad memories of how people have said hurtful things to me about my mental health. I wish more people would understand and learn about mental health. There are things you should and should not say. There are ways to help people with mental health problems and there are ways you could hurt them. Thank you Simone Biles for standing up and speaking out. I am proud of you and thank you for educating and bringing awareness to metal health.
Note: I am not a medical professional, this is just a blog and opinion piece. Please seek real professional help.
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I’m very proud of her too, especially as USA Gymnastics has a habit of not putting the welfare of their athletes first. McKayla Maroney recently gave a gutwrenching interview about her experiences, not to mention Kerri Strug in 1996 whose vault on her injured ankle. It’s constantly talked about in terms of heroic perseverance; it was really abuse coming from her coaches (gold at all costs) that ended her career. I am glad Simone used her voice and didn’t put herself in danger (I learned that with the “twisties” you can struggle to land/may break something). She is so important as a gymnast but also as a person. Fab post — thanks for sharing!
I support her as well, sometimes no matter how much you prepare for something if your heart and mind is not there it shouldn’t be pushed just to please others.
Thank you for sharing this important post. I so admired Simone Biles for her ability to step away even under so much pressure. It’s so important to be surrounded by people who truly support you. Great post!
We need more hero’s to share their stories so kids can not only look up to the success but also see the struggles that make them just like everyone else. It is the way we handle the toughest challenges in life that we can look at our hero’s in a new light.
I support her as well. It took a lot of courage to put her mental health first. I have been through many of the things you mentioned and it is not fun to not be supported by those around us. Hopefully more and more people will understand mental health as more people share their stories and speak up. Thank you for sharing yours!
Not only Simone brave, but you are also brave for opening up your life to us about what you have gone through. Thank you for sharing with us. I commend your strength for sharing your journey and continuing to face each day.
Thank you for sharing your experience dealing with mental health. I’m sure your story will resonate with many of your readers.
Anxiety and mental wellness is real and should not be glossed over.
I was surprised to learn about the “twisties” as a result of her taking this actiong. I always wondered how they knew where the ground was. I also would have thought that this awareness while in mid-air would have been a disturbance to the balance control system, rather than mental health. So I learnt a lot of things because of Simone
I feel like it was a really important decision that she took, and it has made mental health less taboo globally.
It opened room for discussion and for example, in my country (i’m from Belgium), thanks to her, our government has realized that they have to make mental health more of a priority and more accessible, so they have recently decided to reduce the prices of therapists, I mean, she made such a big impact honestly.
Kudos to Simone Biles for having the courage to stand up & do what was right for HER. In gymnastics, the focus is on winning no matter what it takes. But we can’t win if we are not in a good place mentally or physically. The fact that she stepped back shows that she has respect for the most important thing of all — herself — and that she genuinely loves herself. That is something that we should all emulate.We should always put ourselves first — and our well being — and once that is in optimal health we can go for the gold.
She is a great example for so many young people, she has made the world proud!
Thank you for sharing your story, that is very brave of you and it will be an inspiration to your readers! So proud of Simone too!
Yes, I am so proud of her too! What an example!
I really appreciate both your support of Simone Biles and your openness about how difficult life can be. Lots of people are told to “toughen up” at times when they’re really vulnerable–I remember how people kicked me when I was down when I lost a job. It was hard not to break down completely, and I was lucky that I got the help I need to keep those voices quiet.
Re: Ms. Biles–it’s just shocking someone might be paralyzed if they aren’t in the right frame of mind, and people are bullying her over that.
Thank you for sharing with us! I also suffer in regards to mental health and love that people are being more open about it.
I completely agree – its great that people with a huge platform are bringing more attention to mental heath.
I completely agree! We need to start prioritizing mental health and undoing the stigma around it. Thank you for sharing your story as well!
Great post! Thanks for sharing your experiences with mental health! It is so important and something most of us deal with yet there is still a bad stigma around it. This needs to change! Simone Biles is amazing and I for one am very proud of her for doing what she did. Would I have loved to see her compete and win…YES! But honestly–she did WIN by doing what she did!
Thank you for sharing this! I remember when I first heard about why Simone dropped out of the olympics, I immediately told myself “finally, someone is taking care of themselves and not listening to anyone else”. She took a lot of courage to do that, but it was for her own well-being.
thank you for sharing this! fabulous post