On Saturday, Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna admitted that he has been battling anxiety issues, citing that as the reason he wasn’t available during Friday’s game.
Anxiety is a mental illness that affects many people around the world, and having a big figure in a global game like Osuna admit he’s battling it will help countless people in their own fights. After hearing Osuna open up, I wanted to let him know how his openness will affect people who strive through mental illness. Here is my letter to Roberto Osuna.
Dear Roberto Osuna,
On Saturday we learned that you’re battling anxiety issues. Hearing this made me feel conflicted. I was so happy that someone of your stature would be strong enough to admit what they’re going through, but I also felt deep sadness that someone else is facing this. Mental illness of any kind is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It plays with your mind. When you think you’re fine, it’ll pop up in the worst ways, and when you’re wishing it would stop, it’s unrelenting. I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m saying this because we have to be real with what this is before we can fight it. Once we figure out why it’s happening, we can figure out ways to stop it.
I’m in no way an expert in this field, I didn’t go to school studying this, but I have my own experiences with this. I’ll admit this to you, I have been diagnosed with depression, and I also struggle with anxiety issues. So saying this comes from the bottom of my heart. Hearing a very public figure say they have some of the same issues as me helps. If you aren’t worried about what people will think, why should I?
The only way to help fix this problem is for us to admit we have it and talk about how it affects us. We know for you that you’re feeling great at the field, but are feeling lost away from it. That’s how I feel with writing. Doing this is something I’m very comfortable with, and something I can do with ease. But when I close my laptop, I don’t know what to do. I try to have fun, but those deep dark feelings come haunting in.
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I’m saying this because I want people who are reading this to be able to get a sense of what this does to us. In my case, I quadruple think everything I do. I can’t do anything without second guessing myself and getting nervous. That’s what this will do to you. I’m not sure how this specifically affects you, and we can’t assume it’s anywhere close to the same as me. That’s the trouble with mental illness. It’s completely different in everybody who has it.
You coming forward in saying this will have profound effects on tons of people. Mental illness used to be seen as a weakness, not a sickness. Feeling anything at all wasn’t manly. If you were depressed, or sad, or anxious, you weren’t a real man. Unfortunately, many people still feel this way. But you saying you get anxiety will show boys of all ages that this is an okay thing to feel. It may be scary, and odd, and you may feel hopeless, but people do feel this. Real men feel this. If a professional athlete in one of the biggest sports leagues in the world struggles with this, surely it’s something that a regular boy from Canada, or Mexico, or anywhere else in the world can feel.
You’ve given a lot of people a voice. Lot’s of people don’t feel like they can talk about this, so having people with publicity talk about this, will help those people who feel like they can’t talk, feel the opposite. You’ve strengthened countless people, just by saying what you’re going through.
One of the things that gave me the most relief, is hearing that you’re going to see a psychologist about this. That’s one of the best things you can do. Talking helps so much. I’ve spent most of my time being diagnosed looking for people to talk to. Once you find the right person, it’s important to keep talking to them and keep them up to date.
Lastly, I wish you the best. I really hope that you can get past this. If it stays with you, remember those bad times. Remembering how you got through them will help you in the next bad times. and don’t keep things bottled up. Keep talking to people about this.
Feel better soon,