Mike Reilly talks openly about his mental health issues

This is a powerful piece. Very courageous of Reilly to talk about something deeply personal, in the hope that it might help others going through issues of their own.

‘I let this thing own me’: Reilly opens up about mental health

What’s really scary and really sad is the culture that we have and the way we look at mental health. It was a big reason why I didn’t talk with anybody about it originally and why I didn’t want to talk about it when I knew something was wrong. Learning how quickly actually talking with someone and getting some help resolved my issues just made me mad. It’s sad that I wasted a month of my life that I’ll never get back because I was too proud to talk with someone about it.

Before I decided to talk about this, there were probably less than a dozen people in the entire world that knew what I went through. But there’s probably a ton of people out there that go through things like this every single day.

It blows me away looking back on it. The league’s toughest player let his pride get in the way of solving a problem. I always say that I’m tough enough to overcome anything. I can play in the Western Final with a broken foot. I can play in the Eastern Final with a dislocated shoulder. I can do all these things because I’m mentally strong enough to do it, to deal with the physical pain. Mentally I can overcome anything. Then your mental capacity starts to question that and now it’s something that you can’t deal with and you’re terrified of it and you won’t get help for it.

Panic attacks are mind-blowingly frightening. I dealt with that about 20 years ago during a particularly stressful time in my life. The way Reilly describes it is bang on accurate. You literally feel like you are about to die.

The first few times are scariest until you understand the process. The way to overcome it is to minimize stress and change your mindset on how you handle tense situations. Eventually they go away.

While I get that your intention is to be helpful, the whole point of Reilly’s article is that he wished he had actively and honestly sought expert help sooner than he did. The takeaway is supposed to be: if you experience something like this, don’t be ashamed to seek treatment.