Mind – Just About – Over Matter

Elite athletes and depressives have a surprising amount in common – including worrying that they just can’t do it any more

A cartoon cyclist crashes
Image: depuys/pixabay

WHEN Jonny Brownlee won gold at the World Triathlon Championship event in Edmonton just over a week ago, he admitted he wasn’t really feeling like a world-beater.

The Olympic Silver and Bronze medallist had just won the 13th World Championship race of his glittering career.

But he told the BBC that – after injury and accidents had left him without an elite-level victory in almost two years – he’d feared he might never win again.

“I’ve doubted myself a lot.,” he said. “Athletes have very short-term memories and it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done in the past.

“The last 18 months, really, I’ve thought I’m never going to get on the podium again; never mind win one of these again.”

Hearing Brownlee talk about doubt – and only being able to remember success for a short period – made my ears prick up.

This is because I also doubt myself constantly, and tend to forget the many positive things I’ve done.

The difference between us is: I’m not a world-class athlete, but an ordinary man with depression.   

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