An actual, real-life sports hero? I think I may have just found one. In this era of doping, steroids, criminal behavior, and title stripping, it is refreshing to come upon an athlete who uses his newfound fame for something else other than his own personal enrichment. I recently came across an interesting article at CNN online that introduced me to a brave young man. Royce White, 21, is a basketball player who is commencing his rookie year for the Houston Rockets. Royce battles Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And he's not shy about sharing that information.
One of Royce's biggest struggles is his extreme fear of plane flights. Of course, being part of a professional basketball team means constant flying. Ironically, this may actually help him to overcome his OCD. Those of us who've been through CBT/ERP know that consistent exposure to things that frighten us is the only real way to beat a fear. Going to work may be the best thing that ever happened to Mr. White!
Royce has used his experiences with anxiety to encourage others who struggle as well. As a college basketball player, he visited with a group of youngsters who also dealt with mental illness and he shared about his disorders with them. Additionally, he is working to end the stigma of mental illness through a new campaign that he is initiating.
Personally, I haven't been interested in the NBA since Larry Bird led the Celtics to greatness. Hmmm . . . I may just have to start watching a little basketball again.