Love wrote a piece in The Players’ Tribune revealing his issues with panic attacks and the change of heart he’s had about openly dealing with his mental health.
Entitled “Everyone Is Going Through Something,” Love is candid about his mental health and how he’s dealt with panic attacks, the first one coming for him last November at halftime of a game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Love described the “perfect storm of things” that combined to trigger the attack: the Cavs were struggling, he wasn’t sleeping well and there were family issues he was trying to deal with.
After halftime, it all hit the fan. Coach Lue called a timeout in the third quarter. When I got to the bench, I felt my heart racing faster than usual. Then I was having trouble catching my breath. It’s hard to describe, but everything was spinning, like my brain was trying to climb out of my head. The air felt thick and heavy. My mouth was like chalk. I remember our assistant coach yelling something about a defensive set. I nodded, but I didn’t hear much of what he said. By that point, I was freaking out. When I got up to walk out of the huddle, I knew I couldn’t reenter the game — like, literally couldn’t do it physically.
Coach Lue came up to me. I think he could sense something was wrong. I blurted something like, “I’ll be right back,” and I ran back to the locker room. I was running from room to room, like I was looking for something I couldn’t find. Really I was just hoping my heart would stop racing. It was like my body was trying to say to me, You’re about to die. I ended up on the floor in the training room, lying on my back, trying to get enough air to breathe.
It’s a touching piece that was obviously difficult for Love to write. He said he’d not shared much about his mental health with others throughout his life, but felt he had to write about it after he felt himself trying to hide what happened to him. Love said he was afraid of the stigma mental health has with others, and he wants to help change that narrative for athletes and others alike.
“Mental health isn’t just an athlete thing. What you do for a living doesn’t have to define who you are,” Love wrote. “This is an everyone thing. No matter what our circumstances, we’re all carrying around things that hurt — and they can hurt us if we keep them buried inside.
Love said he wanted to help speaking up about his mental health because DeMar DeRozan opened up about his struggles with depression, and he hopes he will help others be honest and admit that they need help. Being honest about getting that help is so important, and it seems like Love is getting himself back on the right track in more ways than one.