I was a six-year-old, no different from my classmates I thought. I cried when my ice cream fell to the ground, I couldn't sleep a week before my birthday and I always tried to stay awake until my eyes betrayed me.
As a professional boxer, most people around me only see the finale – me stepping into the ring, in great physical shape and performing well under the lights and cameras. Amidst the occasion, it is easy to assume that everything is fine.
As my family and friends watch me compete, my true state of mind is not really questioned. And so, I continue to war with my 'lower thoughts' just as I do in the ring, alone.
Due to wrongful media portrayals, schizophrenia patients are often perceived as unseen monsters that are safely locked away in militarized institutions. As long as we don’t have to see them, we don’t have to deal with them, right? This manner of thinking couldn’t be more damaging. The reality is, mental illness can affect anyone.
Having spent almost my whole life living with the effects of anxiety and then recovering after therapy, there's still one thing people (and admittedly, myself) dislike talking about: being out of work.