UFC women’s featherweight Megan Anderson has opened up for the first time about her mental health struggles.
The Australian detailed her suicide attempt in 2010 when she was in the Army and the depression that followed. Anderson also announced that in the lead-up to her upcoming fight against Norma Dumont at UFC Norfolk in February, she will have t-shirts made in which all revenue made from the sales will go to the nonprofit organisation, Mental Health America.
“I was at a point where I was just so scared to do anything, so mentally broken I didn’t know what else I could do,” Anderson told ESPN. “That was hard for my family, obviously. After that, we made the decision [the Army] wasn’t for me.
“I think there’s such a stigma around mental health, particularly as fighters, we are seen as invincible,” She continued. “We get in the cage and we fight and we’re supposed to be like superhero people.”
The 29-year-old said on the morning of her fight against Felicia Spencer in May of this year, she suffered a panic attack and almost pulled out of the fight. Despite her coach, UFC lightweight James Krause, giving her the option to withdraw from the fight, Anderson went on to compete and lost by first-round submission.
“It’s kind of scary,” Anderson said. “I don’t want people to think differently of me or anything like that. I’m a human like everybody else. I feel like I have a really good platform to help other people that might not necessarily be able to have this platform.
”There are people of all walks of life that go through all different types of things. It’s OK. If I can work through it, you’re not alone. You can do it, too. I have faith in those people, and I have faith in myself and anybody else. I think anyone who speaks out about mental health, I have such respect for. There’s such a stigma around it, and it needs to go.”
The Lifeline offers 24/7, free and confidential support for those in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. Please call 1-800-273-8255 for help.