Professional athletes seem to have it all — talent, fame, and confidence. But some suffer from mental health issue, too, like retired soccer star Landon Donovan, who used to play for the LA Galaxy, MLS, and the U.S. National Team, competing in the World Cup three times. Notably, the star player suffers from depression.
“I think our problem is we wrap our identity around what we do and it becomes who we are,” he told The Huffington Post. “So you see a lot of former athletes struggle with this, a lot of athletes that are no longer being recognized for what they did on the soccer field. They’re like ‘Well, what am I now? I don’t have this sport anymore.’”
Donovan hopes others, too, will talk about their mental health issues more.
Back in 2013, he even took a three-month break from soccer to focus on his mental health.
I think, athlete or not, a lot of us can relate. Various celebrities have also spoken out about struggling with mental health issues, like Kristen Bell, and there’s a must-see Insta account all about mental health, too.
“I’m comfortable talking about it and I hope that more people will talk about it,” Donovan said.
In 2014, Donovan spoke to the L.A. Times about it.
“There’s many people in life who deal with periods of depression,” he said. “There’s many people in this country who have to deal with mental health issues. There are many people who are undiagnosed, many people who are probably afraid to admit it. There’s many people in the past — both famous and otherwise — who have dealt with these kind of issues.”
Big ups to Donovan for speaking up about it and, like he said, we hope more and more people will, as well.
Meanwhile, he’s busy cheering on Team USA…
…and taking care of his son.
“It’s human nature to have sad periods in life,” Donovan told the LA Times. “I would much rather feel than not feel things. And to go through some of the things we as human beings go through, it’s normal to feel that way.”