Mental health is a taboo issue that we as a society are forced to look into as it is becoming more and more prominent especially in the age of social media where we as youth, to a large extent suffer from the consequences of comparing our lives to the lives of others. This in turn has a detrimental
effect and can harm the athletes' well-being and mental state which, more often than not, leads to an alteration in the athletes performance, mostly in a negative way.
In 2018 I set high expectations for myself, I wanted to make my schools first XV side and make the provincial side. I set these goals and worked really hard in the off season to make sure that I was ready to achieve them, from putting extra hours in gym to making sure my skill set was top notch. I felt really positive going into the season and I got the news that I've been selected to start in my schools 1xv and in my first game I sustained an ankle injury and it felt like everything came crumbling down thereafter, this injury had a negative impact not just from a sporting perspective but I was also displaying bad character towards my parents and my grades didn't really improve as well. I didn't really achieve what I set out to achieve in 2018 and in retrospect I learnt many lessons.
How I deal with mental health today given the lessons I've learnt in 2018 and other occasions?
There's an islamic saying by Umar ibn al Khattab:
"What is destined for you will reach you, even if it be between two mountains. What is not destined for you will never reach you , even if it be between your two lips."
Today, to a large extent I try and live by this profound statement because it puts everything into perspective for me personally. All life's tribulations have pushed me to my knees and in the perfect position to pray to the controller, planner, architect and Lord of the heavens and the earth. This is a simple statement but there is so much wisdom in what Umar ibn al Khattab says. In the past, I struggled with setbacks and not achieving the goals I set out but lately I've become more accepting to the fact that I am not in control. God is. I try and get into this frame of mind when I experience hardship.
With that being said I still believe in being the best, the hardest worker, a champion, an absolute beast! but at the same time knowing that everything happens on Gods time and not mine.
My heart is at ease knowing that what has missed me was never meant for me and what has hit me was always meant for me.
I hope that my story gives athletes perspective. This is my story and it might work for some and not work for others. I hope it works for you!