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December 15, 2016  |  By Jordan Burnham

Staying with What Works

Staying with What Works One sport that fans have the most patience for, during the regular season, is basketball. Maybe it’s because there are 82 games as opposed to 16 in football or fans just understand that chemistry between players doesn’t happen overnight. The Philadelphia 76ers even made an entire slogan out of it by fans always chanting “trust the process” over the years they played terrible to obtain high draft picks. Even the best teams in the NBA have slumps during the season that can’t be explained other than having just a few “off” nights, which can cause some fans to wonder if things should change. Some might question if players should be moved around or if the team should switch up rotations during the game. That’s something I thought of because of a question that I often get asked by students when I speak, “I’m doing what I usually do but now I’m depressed. What am I doing wrong?”

 One of my favorite players to watch is Steph Curry because of his ability to shoot from an endless range and his ability to entertain with his ball handling. Most in the NBA would consider Steph Curry the best shooter in the league. This past November, the Golden State Warriors played the Los Angeles Lakers who are (definitely) not on the same talent level. Despite the talent difference, the Lakers beat the Warriors 117-97. In this game, Steph went 0-10 from the 3-point line and only scored 13 points. There was nothing that he did differently as far as his form or how many shots he took but for some reason Steph Curry just couldn’t even make the open shots. When it comes to having depression, I don’t change the core things that have helped from the time I was diagnosed at sixteen. I continue to see a therapist and psychiatrist for talk therapy. I take medication but have had to adjust a few times. I always have my favorite coping mechanisms of listening to music, writing, working out and playing golf or basketball. Another part of my mental health structure is going to at least seven Alcoholic Anonymous meetings a week to help maintain my sobriety. Despite these daily efforts, I’m aware that there are still going to be days where I wake up depressed. There are going to be days where I don’t want to wake up and get out of bed or mentally be present but my first thought isn’t what am I doing wrong. My first thought is to make sure I stick with what helps me during my good days because I know how important they are during my bad ones. The only thing I might do differently is adjust. There are times where I went for talk therapy more frequently or even go to more AA meetings than usual. I’ve accepted that I’m doing the right things but it just might not seem like it’s enough on certain days. This can be frustrating but it doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong.

 Just like in sports, I’m going to have slumps but that doesn’t mean my coping skills have diminished. Just like Steph Curry having a terrible game doesn’t mean he’s not as skilled of a shooter. There are certain bad games where there’s no explanation but everyone has them. Coping with depression takes patience and it has definitely been a process. It takes time for the chemistry of all coping skills to gel together but it’s rewarding when they finally do. Closing note: Three days later, Steph Curry scored 46 points and made 13 out of 17 3-pointers. He felt no need to change his shooting form or release because he knew how many nights that same shooting form worked just fine.

Tag: Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health