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Anxiety | Mental Health | Lionel Messi - It Happens to the Best!

This discussion about mental health, anxiety, and how being anxious chronically can happen to the best, people as good and great as Lionel Messi, is inspired by this article by Adam Alter, on

For many people, when celebrities talk about mental health issues, it becomes a bit easier to comprehend the problem and understand that it can happen to anybody irrespective of the amount of inherent talent or the fandom that comes with being the best in anything, ranging from movies to soccer. The latter has its smart, Messi, whose psychological challenges of holding up his performance in the middle of a growing, global fan following. The problems with Messi' preparedness for the big stage have been doing the rounds for some time. Reports suggest that he usually vomits and according to some sources, his vomiting is a bit of a chronic thing that tends to happen en route to a big match. It was in 2014 that reports emerged about Messi showing symptoms of vomiting and perhaps, the condition being associated with trouble in handling anxiety.

At the time I first read this, I was already in the throes of IBS induced by anxiety. For me, it was very understandable that anxiety, when not channeled properly, can lead to immediate and long-term digestive problems and vomiting is perhaps the most spontaneous form of anxiety blowing up and surfacing, taking a toll on the nerves that connect the mind with the intestines. I also recall a news piece shared by Sanjay Manjrekar where he spoke about how the Indian cricket team's doctor would do the rounds at night, asking players who were unable to sleep properly due to being anxious.

Being incredibly talented doesn’t immunize you against anxiety, and many of the world’s best grapple with anxiety precisely because they expect so much from themselves. But Messi hasn’t allowed his anxiety to diminish his brilliance because he’s mastered a coping mechanism that also doubles as the secret behind his tactical brilliance [Source]

It is not against the sports-related doping standards for players to take anxiolytic or anxiety-relieved medications but yes, some might amount to doping as they can have serious sedative effects. It was surprising to realize that people who have been religiously following Messi for years couldn't relate simple facts. In so many horror and thriller niche movies, we are often shown crime scene investigators and accomplices of the main star cast throwing up when they happen to come across decomposing or decapitated bodies. The fact that Messi has only grown in stature and performance since then is ample proof that while his body reacts to the anxiety, mentally he is strong enough to handle it and keep on performing - the ultimate proof that someone who looks like a chronic sufferer of anxiety does not necessarily need to fail as a manager, husband, father, or coach.

Failures emerge only when the medications overwhelm the mind when chemically formulated medicines start dictating the mood and energy levels, and more importantly when the person allows these medical aids as a means to get through the day. Messi has clearly found a way through the problem and the recurring bouts of anxiety-related vomiting, otherwise, he would be making millions of dollars for every Insta post that cites his name.

Seek Help to Progress Inspiration Steve Jobs Inspires

What is even more surprising is that Messi remains somewhat infamous for not playing the game during its opening minutes, underlining that it is perhaps some type of a starter's anxiety that progressively settles as the game proceeds and the nerves are settled. But even if the star player is not there in the opening minutes, even if Messi is seen jogging around the middle mark in the field, it really should not matter as long as he is winning the games for Argentina or his club. I want to quote something that Steve Jobs said and it still makes sense. He said something about not being shy to seek help since this can actually help to progress. It is vital to know when you need help and be blunt about it. The Apple co-founder said so, and that this feature separates the Doers from the Dreamers 

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