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Former tennis world No 4 Jelena Dokic has opened up on her mental health battle, revealing she almost took her own life in April. The Australian 39-year-old has claimed seeking help saved her life after suffering ‘tears, sadness, depression anxiety and pain’.
Dokic retired in 2014 and has worked for Australian TV since. She conducted on-court interviews most recently at the Australian Open in January. The Yugoslavia-born star has previously spoken out about her mental health struggles, writing in her 2017 book ‘Unbreakable’ that she suffered years of emotional and physical abuse from her father.
On Monday, she took to social media with a lengthy statement, updating the public on her condition after almost taking her own life two months ago. Dokic detailed her emotions and experiences leading up to the almost-tragic incident, raising awareness for mental health issues and suicide prevention.
She wrote: “28.04.2022 – I almost jumped off my 26th-floor balcony and took my own life. Will never forget the day. Everything is blurry. Everything is dark. No tone, no picture, nothing makes sense… just tears, sadness, depression, anxiety and pain. The last six months have been tough. It’s been constant crying everywhere.
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“From hiding in the bathroom when at work to wipe away my tears so that nobody sees it to the unstoppable crying at home within my four walls has been unbearable. Constant feelings of sadness and pain are just not going away, and my life has been shattered. I blame myself, I don’t think I am worthy of loving, and I am scared.
“I also know that I still have so many things to be grateful for, and then I start to hate myself because by feeling this way, I feel like I am not grateful because I mustn’t be since I want to end it all. Such a vicious cycle in my head. The result: almost jumping off my 26th-floor balcony on April 28th. Will never forget the day. I just wanted the pain and the suffering to stop.”
Nick Kyrgios, Alex Zverev and Naomi Osaka are just three examples of current professional tennis stars who have opened up about their personal struggles with their mental health. And Dokic, who lifted six singles titles during her career on the WTA Tour, has stressed that those suffering aren’t alone.
“I pulled myself off the edge, don’t even know how I managed to do it. Getting professional help saved my life,” Dokic continued. “This is not easy to write, but I have always been open, honest and vulnerable with you all, and I deeply believe in the power of sharing our stories to help us get through things and to help each other.
“I am writing this because I know I am not the only one struggling. Just know that you are not alone. I am not going to say that I am doing great now, but I am definitely on the road to recovery. Some days are better than others, and sometimes I take a step forward and then a step back, but I’m fighting, and I believe I can get through this.
“I believe in the following: It’s ok to feel what I am feeling. It’s ok to feel sad. Just keep fighting and come back. That’s what I am trying to do, and that’s what keeps me going. Don’t be ashamed of what you are feeling. It’s ok to feel this way, and you can come back from it. It’s possible; just keep believing. Love you all, and here is to fighting and surviving to live and see another day. I will be back stronger than ever.”
If you are suffering with any of the issues raised in this article help is available at samaritans.org
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