“I Guess You Winning The Championship Sent Me” | Bubba Wallace’s Depression Made Him The Ultimate Hater

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, who has talked in the past about his mental health struggles, opened up recently about an episode of depression he suffered after his friend Ryan Blaney won the 2023 NASCAR Cup series championship. Instead of sticking around to celebrate his friend’s first championship, Wallace flew immediately home and dealt with low feelings. Wallace is another athlete in an increasing number that are open about their mental health struggles, and that is a good thing.

“Sitting here on the couch questioning everything,” Wallace posted on social media after the championship. “You would think your bud winning the championship would bring that joy and excitement back. Sadly it did not.

“It’s the helpless feeling that really kicks ya. My wife can see that I’m off but I don’t have the what or the why that I’m feeling this way to allow her to help me. To my peeps out there staring at a blank wall, I’m with you. Tomorrow is another day. Another opportunity. Keep after it.”

Changing The Perception

Professional athletes are among the most popular and recognizable people in the world. What they say and do carries weight. It’s why they are selected to endorse products.

The fact that Wallace, tennis champion Naomi Osaka, GOAT gymnast Simone Biles and others are so open in talking about their struggles with mental health; it makes the topic mainstream. It destigmatizes some of the archaic and dangerous views society holds about mental health.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “depression (also known as major depression, major depressive disorder, or clinical depression)” is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.”

An estimated 21 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.3 percent of all U.S. adults, according to NIMH.

Depression Is Serious

The frequency “of major depressive episode was higher among adult females (10.3 percent) compared to males (6.2 percent),” and “the prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (18.6 percent).” Also of note, the prevalence of major depressive episode “was highest among those who report having multiple (two or more) races (13.9 percent).”

Fortunately for Wallace, this episode did not appear to last too long. The championship race took place on Nov. 5 in Phoenix and Blaney called Wallace a few days later.

“He called me a couple days later and I was like, ‘Man, I guess you winning the championship sent me into depression.’ Like congrats, but I don’t want to see that,” Wallace said to The Associated Press on Thursday.

It’s also good that Wallace is able to maintain a sense of humor about it and have some kind of perspective.

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