When it comes to improving mental health, people have their own coping methods. Some might choose to exercise, while others may like helping others with their issues. As someone who experiences anxiety, I’ve found wrestling to be a positive influence on my mental health. Not only has the WWE inspired me to pursue things I’m interested in, but it’s enabled me to build closer relationships.
I started watching wrestling from a young age and was in awe of the likes of people like The Undertaker, Triple H, John Cena, Chris Jericho and Edge. Here were larger than life characters who entertained millions of people all over the world. They told stories in the ring, putting their bodies on the line on a regular basis. As someone who liked writing, the storytelling aspect of wrestling appealed to me and I decided that either I was either going to end up as a wrestler or a writer.
Throughout my teens, anxiety and depression kicked in. As soon I turned sixteen, I joined Futureshock Wrestling in Manchester. I learned how to bump and take basic moves, but in the back of my mind I kept telling myself that I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t have what it took to become a wrestler. After two years of training, I decided to stop wrestling because I accepted that I didn’t want it as much as I originally thought. But with that acceptance came an understanding that I didn’t have to give up my appreciation for the business.
Training to be a wrestler instilled a discipline that motivated me to get into the gym. It helped me to develop a steady routine that allowed me to feel more comfortable with my body. Watching the WWE exposed me to people who worked their asses off to achieve their dreams. I could apply that same kind of motivation to a writing career, knowing that although it wouldn’t be easy, I had the drive to make a real go of it.
Wrestling also helped me to bond with one of my oldest friends. The UK indie wrestling circuit has blown up in the last couple of years and we’ve been to several events. I even went to Wrestlemania 34 in New Orleans and it was one of the greatest spectacles of my life so far. Being around other wrestling fans is a positive experience because everyone is there to have a good time. Everyone is connected by an appreciation for storytelling. For someone who struggles to make small talk, I’ve found the shows to be a good outlet for making conversation.
Wrestling has improved my mental health by giving me something I’m happy to talk about. It’s helped to remind me of my strengths. It’s given me the inspiration to pursue my dream. I’ve accepted that anxiety is a part of my life and that I’ll stumble from time to time. But wrestling is a part of my life too, and I wouldn’t be where I am without it. With a couple of published short stories, poems and a Masters in Creative Writing, it’s safe to say I ended up as a writer.