A Different Simone Biles Take

A friend from college posted this on his FB page regarding the drama surrounding Simone Biles and her decision to withdraw from the team events.

I haven’t heard anything else, whether she’s withdrawing from the WHOLE competition or just the team. Whatever it is, that’s HER business. It’s HER health.

We do not know what she is going through mentally. Like David says below, ” And then to have the eyes of the world upon you and carrying the stress of being the face of a global event…that’s a lot! That’s also why I think people need to be slower to criticize and quicker to show empathy and compassion.

I will be joining my friend David in standing behind mental health warriors. Mental health is so so important. It’s crucial

Read on:

A Different Simone Biles Take

Two weeks ago I interviewed a woman who was a victim of sexual assault during her college years. Rather than me summarizing her story, I’d like to share her words with you:

“It wasn’t until I became a mom that I started having anxiety, and I didn’t understand why. I had a loving husband, two beautiful boys, and I was no longer in my childhood. I asked a therapist, ‘Why is this happening now? There’s nothing I’m afraid of. There’s no stress in my life.’ He said, ‘Bonnie, did you know that a soldier doesn’t experience anxiety and panic attacks when he’s fighting, when he’s being strong on the battlefield, when he’s protecting others? When does he start feeling his anxiety and panic attacks?’ I said, ‘When he comes home.’ He said, ‘Exactly. When he’s safe. That’s when he starts experiencing the depression and anxiety and the fear that he couldn’t when he was out on the battlefield.’ I had hidden all these things about myself and they were finally expressing themselves in anxiety and depression.”

I have no idea what Simone Biles is dealing with, other than what’s been made public. What I do know is that this young woman has endured more in her 24 years than most of us will ever have to deal with. She’s experienced childhood hunger. She was in foster care. She experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a team doctor. I can’t even fathom what it’s like to deal with those issues. I’m thankful I’ll never know. And then to have the eyes of the world upon you and carrying the stress of being the face of a global event…that’s a lot! That’s also why I think people need to be slower to criticize and quicker to show empathy and compassion.

I’ve been disheartened today hearing some of these “hot takes” about Simone Biles from “tough guys” who argue she failed her teammates and her country. Many of these people don’t believe in the seriousness of anxiety and depression, seeing it as nothing more than basic stress and laziness. And that is why I shared the story above from Bonnie Gray.

It’s sad to see people try to flex and downplay mental health. I know a lot of these guys think they look masculine, but they actually come across as weak and too prideful for their own good. I’ve talked to far too many men who are struggling with mental health but are afraid to get help. Why? Because they know they’ll get mocked and ridiculed for being “weak.” So, they suffer in silence.

This isn’t about laziness, weakness, or participation trophies (Simone’s trophy case has more gold than I’ll ever see in my life). This is about a young woman and her personhood–something that is much bigger than the Olympic Games (and it’s called “Games” for a reason).

Mental health warriors, you can count on me always having your back! Don’t let those who don’t understand and who don’t want to understand knock you down or make you feel less than.

And though I doubt Simone Biles will ever see this, she’s got a lifelong fan in me!

Same, David. Same. 🙂

GO SIMONE!

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