"Looking back on my life, at least from the start of high-school until now, I can say that severe anxiety and depression are issues that I’ve always dealt with and that have always had a fixture somewhere in the back of my mind. I went to a very small school and in some ways I think this helped mask my problems because I was always surrounded by classmates that I knew very personally and in some aspects being constantly surrounded by a support system gave me a buffer and crutch to my MENtal health issues.
When I arrived on campus, it was in some ways a culture shock how big it was, and this complete change of environment was also what I think started to exacerbate my mental health issues. I would go to class and I wouldn’t know anyone, it was hard to become close to my teammates on personal level because the only time I ever saw them was at practice or working out, and in some ways I can admit that I wasn’t a part of going out with them or going to any parties they held.
What I think made these problems even worse is the combination of both the athlete “push through, let’s just get it done” mentality, while also having the cultural stigma that surrounds being a black male. What I mean by this is that, from a young age, most black males are taught that this world does not care about you, that it doesn’t care if you feel bad or are feeling down about yourself. This itself was a mindset that kept me from reaching out about my problems, I had no trust for anyone and furthermore, I figured no one cared anyway.
Ironically, while I bottled everything up and kept it all to myself, I was always the person who tried to be someone anyone could talk to about anything. I always tried to be someone that if you had a problem and needed someone to give you advice and help, you could come to me. I never held any judgments towards anyone and their problems, while at the same time dismissing my own by saying things such as, “You have all these awards, notoriety, and gifts, what are you upset about?”
My personal MENtal health journey has been one of learning to allow myself the same grace that I give to others. To allow myself the freedom to express myself and know that I’m not weak for feeling what I feel and not feeling that I am any less because I need help. I still have bad days, but one of the most crucial lessons I’ve learned about MENtal health is that we don’t learn about it to stop the bad days, but so the bad days don’t turn into bad weeks, which turn into bad months. I’m blessed to say that I know have the skills, knowledge, and have found my support system to be able to deal with my mental health and continue to pursue the best version of myself...
...P.s if anybody is going through anything my instagram handle is @maxwell_costes dm me and we can talk <3 "