Panic Attacks

I read the ESPN piece on Kevin Love and other NBA players’ mental health issues this morning. My son had sent it to me yesterday.

The bit about his panic attack during an Atlanta Hawks game, initially disclosed in this piece Kevin wrote on The Players Tribune, was particularly hard to read.

Kevin Love started out his Players Tribune post with this:

It came out of nowhere. I’d never had one before.

That’s how it happened to me too.

I was on a flight from NYC to DC in my mid-thirties, trying to close an important acquisition of a portfolio company by a publicly traded company.

I had no idea what was happening to me, but I couldn’t breathe, and I was freaking out.

Anyone who has had one of these things knows how it feels.

Right after it happened I went to see my regular doctor and got a prescription for medication that can calm me down in that situation.

I have carried that medication with me when I travel ever since.

But the real solution has come from many years of trying to understand the root causes of the panic and anxiety and working to deal with them.

Kevin also describes another aspect of his personality (and mine too):

“I’m a type of guy who has a very long fuse,” Love says. “I try to be as nonconfrontational as I can, but when that fuse breaks, I explode. 

Understanding things like that about yourself and working to change that kind of behavior is hard work. It takes years and you are never really done.

But I have found that admitting that you have an issue and need help is the hardest and most important part.

Once you do that, you can get help and eventually get better.

I really admire Kevin Love and the other NBA players who are speaking up and talking about this.

It is hard when you are a superhuman to admit that you really aren’t.