This blog space is not just about my stories and life lessons. During the course of this blog, I have received or come across many situations in which an athlete or a sports enthusiast has brought out some wonderful life experiences of their own. One such person who I have started to follow recently is Tianna Bartoletta; “TB” as she is referred to.
Please understand that I have never met Tianna. I can only speak from my following her website and researching her public stories. But what she has shared is worthy of reading.
For those who do not follow track and field, TB is a world-class athlete with multiple Olympic Gold medals to her credit. What has impressed me about TB is not her prowess on the track, but rather, her commitment to living a life.
If you dig into TB’s background, you will see, as I did, that TB’s life has been full of unexpected challenges. Success and accolades on the track as well as soul crushing personal pain off the track. In March of this year, Paul Hayse of the Chronical-Telegram wrote a nice article telling about TB’s recent health issues and how she met the challenge. (See https://chroniclet.com/news/207585/a-long-jump-back-elyrias-tianna-bartoletta-still-working-for-olympic-berth-in-face-of-health-scare-virus-shutdown/).
In December 2017, Ewan Mackenna of Independent.ie wrote about some of TB’s struggles with self-destruction and her loss of ‘self-worth’ (my words, not hers). She said something which a great many us can relate to, but we cannot find the right words;
“Once I decided to leave (her home and her then-current living situation), my self-esteem and pride in myself began to increase and I’d see in the mirror someone I was proud of, someone I didn’t want to destroy. I was proving to myself I was worth saving because I was still fighting, in the metaphorical sense.”
To look in the mirror and not like who we see looking back at us is a horrible place to live. To know that world-class athletes or local high-schoolers or casino executives (yes- I’m speaking of myself here) or anyone else for that matter struggle with our own self-perception is something of a comfort. Knowing that others share our inner-conflict is a wonderful first step.
But if you find yourself on that road, take the next step.
Seek some help. In TB’s cases, she sought help from a medical professional for her physical ailment and it saved her life. She also sought the help of friends and family for her ‘inner demons’ and it worked. In my own case, I have sought the assistance of professionals and friends to stave off acute clinical depression.
Help is out there. Maybe it’s your friends, your coach, your family, your medical professional. Let them help you. And if you are lucky enough to be that friend, coach, family or medical professional, be the support someone needs. You don’t have to have the answers. Sometimes, all it takes to make a difference is to give a little time and lend your ears to a troubled voice.