The Toughest Call of My Life

In this article for The Players’ Tribune, Jalen Moore shares his experiences with anxiety and the feeling of “not having to hide in the dark” after opening up to his family about it. He explains how he turned down signing onto the Milwaukee Bucks as a free agent three days before the set date and the pressures he felt leading up to it, but ultimately how it was one of his first steps in taking care of his mental health.

Moore takes us on his mental health journey with his own introduction to anxiety, a panic attack on a plane, and the discomfort of panicking alone. He goes to explain how the summer that was supposed to be the “best summer of [his] life” before joining the NBA unfolded into one filled with anxiety, more panic attacks, and thus more isolation. He writes that although he was sure in his mind that he could not go to Milwaukee for mental health reasons, he feared that telling his parents this would make him a quitter, to which he expresses how “you never want to be a quitter” in sports. However after mustering up the courage to open up to them, Moore realized that his family was supportive and felt sorry that he had to hide it for so long. This was a reminder to me that we never really gain anything from keeping our hardships to ourselves and that we are our own worst critics.

I am no expert in basketball, nor am I an expert in mental health, but I can 100% relate to his experiences with panic attacks and the strength it takes to face mental health head on.  Like him, I have had panic attacks in planes, public spaces, during outings with friends, etc. Panic attacks are no joke. You really do feel like “this is the end.”

My first panic attack was my first night class in community college about four years ago. It was unexpected, and I didn’t know how to deal with my heart pounding so fast, feeling like every other beat skipped, my hearing going weird, or the feeling that grasping and crinkling my plastic water bottle was the only thing that could reassure me that I still had sensation in my hands and that I was somewhat okay. Hiding anxiety is extremely difficult, and Moore expresses this so well in this article. Even now, I find myself having to run to bathroom stalls during work to remind myself that it’s all in my head, I’ve been through it before, and that it will pass.

Although I was not (and never will be) close to joining the NBA, I can also 100% relate to Moore in making a huge life decision for mental health reasons that are not so obvious to the general public. The hardest thing for me was the wall I would hit every time that I couldn’t just tell someone I was going through a mental health issue without the fear of being judged. I can only imagine what Moore must have felt as a public figure. I have nothing but respect for those who prioritize mental health over a career, expectations, or fear. Moore’s story is truly inspirational, and I am glad I came across this article because it made me remember that we are never truly alone in our mental health struggles and journeys. Like he says, “We’ve just got to talk about them.”

Post By: Moet Kurakata

To read Jalen Moore’s article in The Players’ Tribune, click here.

If you or anyone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.