Roberto Osuna with the Blue Jays

Only good things can come from Roberto Osuna’s admission that he’s dealing with anxiety.

When you’re mentally fit, you can take on any test at school, any presentation at work, or most any job related task without having to deal with all that much anxiety from within.  When you have an anxiety disorder however, all of those things that were relatively easy for you to handle prior to becoming so susceptible to anxiety, now become extremely daunting, and at times even impossible.  The power of one’s mind is so strong, that when it’s out of balance, the discomfort you feel in other places throughout your body can be debilitating and keep you from actually living a normal life.

Imagine living every day and not feeling like yourself because of the pain and discomfort you feel from anxiety?  This is a very real thing people, and before I turned 25, the time at which my own anxiety disorder began, I had no idea how real this problem truly is.

The main reason I’m writing this is because I feel there’s a cure for mental illness just waiting to be discovered, and the only way we can get there is to just keep bringing to light the problems associated with anxiety that so many of us are dealing with on a daily basis.  The other reason I want to talk about this subject, is that sadly, many people still believe anxiety disorders are some fictional illness that doesn’t even exist and that people with anxiety are simply using as an excuse.  Even though I’ve lived with this for 10 years now, I still had trouble believing some of the negative and ignorant comments I came across on Twitter after news of Roberto Osuna’s health issues were released.

For those of you who don’t deal with mental health issues, consider yourself extremely lucky, but also understand that anyone can get this…it could be your son, daughter, best friend, wife, husband, or even your favourite professional athlete. This illness doesn’t discriminate.

Roberto Osuna made it to the big leagues and established himself as the closer for the Blue Jays all by the age of 20.  As a closer, he’s been able to excel in the most pressure packed role in all of baseball, something most other big league pitchers could only ever dream of doing, and certainly couldn’t do anywhere near as well as Osuna.  He came into the majors two years ago and pitched as if nothing fazed him.  Osuna was able to handle the most pressure filled of situations and pitch as if it was some game at the neighbourhood park.  What I’m trying to get at is, mental health issues that arise are by no means a weakness, and even someone who’s amongst the very best in the world at what they do can develop such problems.

People have expectations on professional athletes that because of the money they make and the privileged lives they lead, that they should just suck it up and deal with all the media and other attention that comes with being famous.  This, in so many ways is wrong.  There’s no shame at all in talking about mental illness.  In fact, it’s the only way we can move forwards and continue to learn how best to help those affected by such a powerful and chronic problem.

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