Everything begins with mind. What we think is what we become. I want to be able to continue to educate and help others who may be going through their own mental health challenges both on or off the court where possible, while trying to break the stigma around it. This begins with sharing my own story.
Mental health has been a significant part of my journey both on and off the court. I learned the effects of a mental illness in my adolescent years, having battled an eating disorder and its related issues with anxiety, depression and an eye opening experience (in retrospect) of hitting rock bottom at the age of 15. The lens in which I viewed myself and the world through, was completely distorted and I started creating bad physical habits and mental processes that were detrimental to my overall health. Then to make it worse, I believed that there was no way anything could ever get better. That was until I reached my breaking point. I can clearly remember where I was and how I felt when I had my 'switch flicking' moment, a sudden realisation of being so tired of feeling the way I did every second of the day and being completely consumed by it. It was in this moment that I said to myself "I need help".
With the right support and love around me, predominately from my family, I was referred to other professionals where I was able to navigate my way to better physical and mental health over time.
One of the biggest parts of my game I've had to constantly work hard on, has been my mental side. I wasn't always the most confident individual growing up and this was greatly exposed in my game as I reached the professional league. I obsessively worked on my physical game, but neglected what I now believe is one of the most important areas to success, the mental game.
That was until I came across my current sport psychologist, through teaching me at university and again when he began working with my current WNBL club, the Deakin Melbourne Boomers.
Through the work I have done with my sport psychologist over the last six years, I've learnt there are so many aspects to sport psychology and the mind. It's been trial and error with firstly finding a sport psychologist I connected well with, and then to working on techniques and routines that worked for me, to get me into the optimal arousal zone at the right time. Meditation, visualisation and hypnosis, have been a big part of my practice.
Research shows that mental practice alone can have improvements in performance, but the greatest improvements occur when practiced in addition to physical training.
Your mind is a muscle, you need to train it every day, like you would physically train any other muscle in your body.