The grip of a panic attack can leave sufferers weak and ashamed. Not many would believe superstar athletes have problems of any kind, especially a debilitating mental health issue like this one. But NBA stars Kevin Love and Channing Frye put an end to that stigma in a sitdown for The Players’ Tribune.
Love recently penned an account of his mental health experiences, noting that, “Everyone is going through something that we can’t see.” His former Cleveland teammate (and current L.A. Laker) Channing Frye has become one of his biggest supporters. Love addresses the stigma of young men who believe they lose masculinity when they’re under an attack. “When’s the last time we heard that a guy in the NBA had a panic attack?” Frye notes and says that men in the NBA are going through their own issues, but it manifests in different ways. To break the stigma of the anxiety that ultimately killed his own father, he encourages his son to express his feelings, without suppressing them. And Love, instead of expressing the panic he would feel because he was so driven to make it to the NBA, let his anxiety fuel him to “play angry.”
Frye talks about driving to practice and wanting to be in a ball of tears. While showing his vulnerable side, his teammates (his “brohamsters” as he calls them) are able to help him work through his anxiety on the court.
Both athletes share that finding a professional to help talk through mental health issues is key. Love talks about the importance of a relationship with a therapist, and that it’s helped him make a personal mission to be better with the people in his life. Frye’s therapist reminds him to listen to happy music that reminds him of good moments in his childhood, like classic Earth Wind & Fire.
The mission of sharing their stories is to make it easier for younger people to open up about their emotions. “You can’t force every day to be your best day. Appreciate every new moment that you’re getting in life.”
Check out the honest exchange below.