There’s something about baseball, more so than other sports, that brings a sense of calm to some of the cruelest situations. For this very reason, many people deem baseball “boring.” But, for those who have deep struggles, baseball can be a lovely distraction.
For Andrew Wilson, baseball has been grounding throughout his life. He began playing baseball at a young age, and even then anxiety was something he battled with.
“Sports gave me an outlet and a way to cope,” Wilson declares.
As with any daunting situation on the diamond, nervousness surfaces. This is normal. However, Wilson describes his as “extreme.” While on the ball-field though, he says he was able to use this nervousness to his advantage.
“Somehow being a little nervous was a good thing,” Wilson admits. “I could just take deep breaths and be alright.”
Away from sports, however, was where he struggled. He calls public speaking “especially painful” for him.
As he grew to adulthood, Wilson, much like with many others, his anxiety attached itself to him and grew as well. It began to manifest as a widespread feeling of anxiety and fear.
“These days, I would describe my anxiety as more of an irrational fear,” Wilson explains of his anxiety post-retirement. “I fear for my health, my future, and my family’s safety constantly.” He also believes his anxiety has worsened because he was forced to retire from baseball due to injuries and having a family.
Although he hasn’t sought out treatment for his anxiety, Wilson credits baseball for helping him get through extremely tough and tragic situations. The game was there for Wilson through two miscarriages, the death of his father, and most recently, the death of his dog.
“Baseball has always helped with avoiding doldrums and the boredom which can bring on depression in me,” he says.
Wilson also credits Jim Abbott, the pitcher with one hand who threw a no-hitter, with motivating him. He calls his local teams and their players his “heroes.”
Besides baseball, Wilson has found a listening ear in a friend who shares some similar struggles.
“She isn’t afraid to ask me about my life and press on certain areas that she knows might be issues for me,” Wilson states.
Although he talks with a friend, he still admittingly struggles with making his mental health a priority.
“I wish I took better care of myself,” he says.
He has observed, he says, that mental health seems to be taken more seriously recently. This is a positive step in the right direction.
“We think nothing of maintenance plans for chiropractic care,” Wilson says. “Perhaps we should think of our mental health in the same way.”
What does “normal” mean to Andrew Wilson?
“‘Normal’ is a word without a real meaning. It’s a measuring stick that can be different every day.”