U.S. track and field team member Chari Hawkins wants people to take actionable steps to focus on their mental health and find a strong sense of self-worth.
The 30-year-old from San Diego, who competes in the heptathlon, fell short of her dream of making the Olympics in 2021. She became deeply depressed and stayed in bed for weeks. Hawkins lost all of her sponsors except one. She also lost her trainer, who told her that they only work with Olympians. She was left alone by her family and friends to cope with her loss. In her darkest moments, she even considered ending her life.
“I didn’t want to be here anymore,” Hawkins says. “It was really hard, and it was also confusing. It was a nightmare. All the things that I had conquered, this idea that you are not your performance felt like it came true. People care about you because of how you perform.”