Naomi Osaka dropped out of the French Open due to post-match anxiety, spotlighting a common mental health issue
- Naomi Osaka dropped out of the French Open and opened up about her anxiety and depression.
- Behavioral change coach and anxiety specialist Gemma Perlin told Insider that anxiety can be "debilitating."
Naomi Osaka dropped out of this year's French Open after announcing she wouldn't do post-match press conferences due to anxiety.
The 23-year-old was fined $15,000 for skipping a press conference and was threatened with expulsion from the tournament if she continued to do so.
Announcing her resignation on social media, Osaka said she has experienced bouts of depression since 2018 and gets "huge waves of anxiety" before speaking to the media, Insider's Kelly McLaughlin and Scott Davis reported.
"I get really nervous and find it stressful to always engage and give you the best answers I can," the current world number two female tennis player wrote. "So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences."
Osaka's post has been met with an outpouring of support from fellow athletes including Serena and Venus Williams, Usain Bolt, Coco Gauff, and Sloane Stephens.
Social anxiety can lead to a fear of social situations
Behavioral change coach and anxiety specialist Gemma Perlin told Insider that anxiety can be "debilitating."
Social anxiety is an overwhelming fear of social situations, according to Perlin.
"It will feel like a very out of body experience. This is not something that can be easily controlled or that you can just brush off," Perlin told Insider.
For those that suffer from anxiety, it can be "debilitating."
"You might feel like you need to call an ambulance or feel like you're dying," Perlin said.
Some people who suffer from anxiety experience high-functioning anxiety, which is more common than many people think, according to Perlin. This type of anxiety means someone can perform well in some areas, but other high pressure situations act as a trigger.
"Just because you have debilitating anxiety, it doesn't affect you in every single circumstance," Perlin said.
Learning not to be controlled by your triggers is key for some anxious people, experts say
For most people, it's important to learn how to manage your triggers.
"I work with a lot of people with anxiety and panic attacks, and we gradually begin to expose them to the their triggers so they don't feel like they're being controlled by anxiety," Perlin said.
The first step towards overcoming high-functioning anxiety is accepting you have it, and it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, executive coach Cherlyn Chong previously told Insider's Lindsay Dodgson.
It's entirely possible to overcome your triggers, according to Perlin, but you should work with a professional therapist to do so.
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