Thanks to Mai Foringer for contributing this story to our Project: Speak series on athletes’ experiences with mental health in their coming out stories.
For the past 8 odd weeks, all of us have had the privilege of reading personal stories of struggle and triumph from a range of current and former student athletes.
That’s about 2 months.
Remember back in the Introduction, we said launched the project at the end of National Suicide Prevention Week? That was September 12th. It’s November 23rd, and we are so happy and proud of every submission we’ve received and may still receive.
Our goal had been to continue and change the conversations surrounding mental health. In the process, we’ve seen so much more. So many friends and family members have stepped forth to show their pride and support in their athlete’s story after it’s been posted. Another super amazing trend we’ve seen is that some of our loved ones have said because of an athlete’s post, they are going to seek help for their personal adversity and that the story helped them feel not so alone and not so shamed by something completely out of their control.
That’s pretty mind-blowing and completely awesome.
We don’t know what is to come of this little project; how many more submissions or anything like that. What we do know is that we are so proud of every athlete who has submitted, and thankful for every reader, friend and follower of the project. We are incredibly proud of our friends who have decided to seek help for the first time, or are turning to others for help one more time.
We all have our limits. We all breakdown at some point. But just remember this:
You aren’t alone.
You aren’t your mental illness, disadvantages, or anything like that at all. You’re so much more.
We’re proud of you for trying your hardest. Sometimes its too hard to even get out of bed. Or it hurts to breathe. We’ve all been there, and we’re more than happy to help you on your journey.
At some point in the future, we will be publishing a master post of resources for almost anything we can think of; mental health support, crisis hotline, LGBTQ* support, family support, mentors, counseling/therapy, calming techniques/websites, whatever you need.
See? We’ve got you, don’t worry.
Mai Foringer is a former soccer, field hockey and lacrosse player. She retired from contact sports her junior year of high school. She is currently a freshman at Penn State Abington, commuting from center city Philadelphia. Her intended major is Athletic Training. She is also one of the Social Media Coordinators for GO! Athletes. Mai can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @mai_foringer11, and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mforinger
Project: Speak is a story-sharing series to promote conversation surrounding mental health, addiction and suicide in LGBTQ* athletes. If you are an athlete interested in sharing your story, contact us as email@example.com.