Alyson Chadwick

Writer・Editor・Strategist・Comedian・Activist

I stand with Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka

Thank you, Naomi Osaka. Photo from Sky News

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka shocked the world when she dropped out of the French Open. She should be applauded, not torn down.

Yesterday, I wrote this piece for Medium about Osaka and her decision. Would love it if you checked that out.

It is long past time that we started treating mental illness with the same seriousness that we treat physical illness. No one would ever say, “You have Diabetes? Just get your pancreas to work harder! That should do it!” That would be ridiculous. “Oh, sorry about your cancer! Can’t you just will it away?” No, no you cannot.

But, it is not unusual to tell someone suffering from depression or anxiety to just “cheer up!” I have people in my life who say things like, “I don’t understand how people get addicted to drugs, I mean, just go for a walk. There is so much beauty in the world.” Then they take a drag from their cigarette. Right, how’s that working out for you?

My experience in this area has done a lot to my life

For most of my life, I have suffered from depression and anxiety. It is impossible to overstate the impact this has had on my life. A lot of that has been because of where I put self-care on my “to-do” list. If it made it on the list, it was at the very bottom. So much to do!

Now, I take it all more seriously. I make more of an effort to listen to my body and to how I am feeling, eat better, try to exercise (it’s progress, not perfection!). I also lean on my support network more. This has made a huge difference for me.

We all should thank someone as high-profile as Osaka and remember, mental illness is a physical illness. There is no and/or here.

PS. If you are on Long Island and want something to make you feel better and laugh, come to Coasters in East Meadow on Saturday. You’ll thank me later.