Saturday, May 18, 2024
EditorialThe Bunny Is Not Alone: Mental Health Awareness Month

The Bunny Is Not Alone: Mental Health Awareness Month



There are a lot of holidays in the month of May. Star Wars nerds get May 4th, otherwise known as “May the Fourth be with you”. Cinco de Mayo is cool if you like to get blackout drunk and body slam strangers at the Waffle House after hitting the bars. Oh, and this Sunday is Mother’s Day, so don’t forget about your mother, jobber.

If you didn’t already know from seeing the hashtag everywhere on Twitter, the month of May is now known as “Mental Health Awareness Month”. This isn’t a holiday; not at all actually. It is a time for raising awareness on the subject of mental illness. Many of us wrestling fans struggle with mental issues daily. Depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia—whatever it may be, they all suck. Watching wrestling is a good way to “escape” whatever your issues or anxieties might be, even if it’s just for an hour or two a week.

You’re probably asking yourself “why is this dude writing about mental health stuff on a wrestling website?”, and you’re probably itching to skip ahead and blast me with something in the comments section. Well, it just so happens that some professional wrestlers, the same ones who entertain you week in and week out, also struggle with mental health, just like you and me.

The Bunny Is Not An Imposter

I was inspired to write this editorial by a tweet made by The Bunny. In a multi-part tweet, Allie opens up about her own struggles with crippling anxiety, which I personally can relate to. The Bunny revealed on an episode of the AEW Unrestricted Podcast that she even had issues getting into the ring in the past because of a bout of imposter syndrome.

I’m sure that many of you who are reading this article can relate to The Bunny’s tweet. I love The Bunny, and I love that she was willing to open up about her own struggles to let you, the wrestling fans, know that you are not alone.

The Bunny is obviously not an imposter. She is one of the best in the business. She knows this, but that doesn’t mean her anxiety won’t tell her otherwise. I know this exact feeling; I’ve had it hit me way too often. It sucks when anxiety is so crippling that it crushes your self-confidence. You know you’re good enough, you know you might even be great at what you love to do, but anxiety has other plans for you.  It is a truly horrifying feeling, just as horrifying as having to sit through Veer Mahaan crushing another jobber next week on Raw.

Panic Disorder Turned Me Into A Jobber

In 2011, out of nowhere, I was hit with severe panic disorder. Like most, I had no idea why. I was working simultaneously in two of my dream industries: film and video games. What did I have to be anxious about? Where were these debilitating panic attacks coming from? I thought I was “living the dream”. I was on a movie set one week, and then writing reports to the producer of some shitty NASCAR game the next week. Anxiety and depression interfered with my everyday life, and it still does sometimes. It has been a ten-year journey to figure things out, and it’ll probably end up being a lifelong journey.

I can only imagine being a professional wrestler, on the road 350 days a year, and BAM! Out of nowhere, you start experiencing relentless anxiety and depression. How do you get on an airplane to get to the next show? What do you do to deal with trolls on your social media? How do you sit through a long line of fans at a convention and take pictures with them without having a panic attack?

There’s “stage fright”, but then there is straight-up fight or flight panic attacks. What do you do to avoid a panic having a panic attack on tv, at a house show, or even worse, on a major PPV? How do you deal with family and relationships back at home if anxiety or depression has you by the balls? Because that’s what mental illness does, it grabs you by the balls, like a low blow from behind from Ric Flair. It is unforgiving, and it loves to hit you with a big “wooooooooo” anytime it feels like doing so, just to let you know that to be “The Man” you have to “beat the anxiety”.

Anxiety Is Not A Work

Over the past two years during the pandemic, I’ve come to realize something I never thought about before when it comes to professional wrestlers. I have something in common with these wrestlers, and I should have realized it all along. These talented wrestlers who entertain us every week, well, they are what you would call a “creative”. Most creatives, struggle with some form of mental illness, whether it be anxiety, bipolar, depression, or in a lot of cases, drug addiction.

Wrestlers are master storytellers. That’s right, I just said that wrestlers are master storytellers. They are no different than a filmmaker, an actor, or a musician. They are expressing themselves artistically through their character’s storytelling. Storytellers have a story to tell because they are usually dealing with something painful internally. They have to get whatever that might be, out of their system, or it will eat them alive, like a leech.

Another thing creatives have in common with wrestlers, is that they are usually technically “unemployed”. Professional wrestlers, especially the ones who work the indies and are not contracted, are technically always unemployed. They are just like actors, filmmakers, and yes, freelance writers. It is a scary feeling to know that you are trying to make your dreams come true in a business that you will be unemployed in often. This alone can cause anxiety and make any existing mental illness that an individual might struggle with worse. It can be exhausting, embarrassing, and debilitating, especially with the added pressures of the pro wrestling industry.

Thanks, Bunny, You Are Not Alone Either

It is always cool to see when some of my favorite wrestlers like The Bunny open up and advocate for mental illness awareness. You are not alone Bunny, and we, the wrestling fans, appreciate you, and we are here for you.

Do you have a story about mental health awareness that you’d like to share? Does watching wrestling help you cope with your anxiety or depression? Share your story in the comments or hit me up on Twitter, you are not alone.

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