Naomi Osaka says she was ‘very scared’ of social media during mental health battle

Naomi Osaka says she was ‘very scared’ of social media during mental health battleNaomi Osaka says she was ‘very scared’ of social media during mental health battle
US Open Tennis Championships
Naomi Osaka revealed that she “got very scared of social media” during her bout with depression while discussing mental health in sports at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Wednesday.
Internal battle: The four-time Grand Slam singles champion has previously spoken about how depression and anxiety led to her withdrawal from the 2021 French Open. The incident significantly shifted the discourse around mental health in sports at the time.
Speaking inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium, the 25-year-old athlete described her journey to becoming a vocal advocate in changing the stigma of seeking mental health care in sports.

“In the back of my head, I was thinking, ‘Growing up, I was told to tough it out,’ and I was in my head thinking, ‘Athletes are supposedly, you know, supposed to stick it out, and you’re actually weak if you show your emotions and things like that.’ So, it was like a very big internal battle.”

About the panel: The panel also featured luminaries like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Dr. Brian Hainline. They delved into topics such as loneliness, the importance of connecting with others via a “buddy system,” the role of social media in mental health struggles and the challenges of parenting in the context of high-pressure sports careers. 
“Somewhere along the line, I definitely got very scared of social media,” Osaka shared.

“I felt like there was too much I didn’t know about it… But then I think of the times that I do use social media. It’s to cheer people up, or to show people what I’m up to, and to look at Beyonce’s outfits or something.  I also try not to look at comments, and it makes me sad because before people knew who I was, there’s [sic] people giving me positive messages… So it’s a little sad, I feel, to miss out on that.”

New perspective on tennis: Osaka, who had taken a hiatus from tennis for both her mental well-being and the birth of her daughter, Shai, shared that being away for a while allowed her to reflect on her love for the sport and the need to cherish every moment. Osaka emphasized the importance of reaching out for support and expressed a newfound appreciation for her tennis career.
She later revealed to ESPN that she plans to play again at the Australian Open next January.
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