Tackling the Zack Greinke Anxiety Debacle
I hope it’s never you who has to stand up in front of the whole world and risk being mocked and ridiculed just to do the job you love.
Zack Greinke didn’t ask for his illness to be made public, and certainly not for it to interfere with his team trying to win, all because of some fans who couldn’t keep their mouths shut.
I hope it’s never you who despite doing that job and pushing yourself that far out of your comfort zone becomes the target of insults.
If there is such a thing as hitting below the belt in a baseball stadium, you did it. Way to go.
I hope it’s never you sitting in the stands listening to insults that could just as easily have been levelled at you because you have a mental health issue too.
Mental illness is all around you, don’t kid yourself that it’s not.
One in six Americans takes a psychiatric drug. Yes, you silently insulted one in six of the fans sitting around you. You might have even insulted the person you went to the game with.
I hope it’s never your son or daughter who needs help but is afraid to ask for it because of what they’ve heard you say about people with mental illness.
Your ridicule only pushes people who already face stigma to feel even less compelled to seek help. If you wanted to make it harder for people with mental illness, congratulations, you succeeded.
I hope it’s never your sister, brother, friend, neighbor, or coworker who confides in you about mental health struggles they are facing, because I don’t trust that you’ll offer compassion or support.
Please go ahead and prove me wrong, I’d love that.
And if you do find it in yourself to be compassionate toward those living with mental health issues, please share with me why you thought it was acceptable to insult Zack Greinke for the same thing.
Please don’t tell me that it’s part of being a fan of the opposing team. If he was physically disabled, I hardly think this would have happened.
I hope it’s never you who needs to talk to a therapist. But if you ever do, I hope you get the help you need.
I hope it’s never you who needs to take medication for a mental health condition. But if you ever do, I hope that it’s available to you.
I hope you never need to be hospitalized for mental illness. But if you do, I hope that you receive the best care.
There’s already so much hate in the world, there’s no need to spread more.
I’m betting there are enough Yankee fans out there who agree with me and are deeply disturbed by what happened. I hope that they will drown you out and this never happens again. I thought we’d made more progress than that.
What’s the silver lining here?
The world is watching, and is not impressed. All you’ve done is shown the world that we won’t tolerate this anymore. It’s not okay to ridicule someone for their mental health issues. This should have never happened.
Do you know why this is so bad?
You made the worst fears of every person with social anxiety come true: that they would be the target of public ridicule.
That’s like playing mind games with a person with schizophrenia.
Or asking a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder if they checked they locked their doors.
Or startling a person with post-traumatic stress disorder to see if they jump.
Do you get that? I’m hoping that you just don’t understand, and that now you know better.
So here’s what I ask: think twice.
Next time you feel like saying something at a game, think twice about what you are about to say.
And even in your daily life, think twice about the words you are using. Are you helping or hurting people with mental illness? Always be on the side of helping.
And even if you are not a Yankee fan who made fun of Zack Greinke for his anxiety disorder, there’s a lesson here for you too.
Choose your words carefully and think twice—in real life and on social media.
The old acronym helps:
T – True?
H – Helpful?
I – Inspiring?
N – Necesssary?
K – Kind?
If not, find something else to say.