The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Countless people have lost loved ones and many have lost jobs. It’s an incredibly tough time for everyone.
In early March, my family and I flew home from Hawaii to California. When we boarded our plane, my wife was wiping down the seats, the windows and the TVs in front of us. I was like, “What are you doing?” I thought it was a little bit above and beyond at the time. But ever since, we’ve pretty much been holed up.
Dealing with the repercussions of this virus and how it has changed our lives is difficult enough. But in early April, I went through one of the toughest days I’ve had in years.
I wasn’t sick, though. It had nothing to do with COVID-19.
I had to drop something off at my in-law’s house nearby, so I got in my car for the first time in three weeks. I was so excited just to get in the car and get out of the house, even if it was only for 10 minutes. The police pulled me over for not using my turn signal when I was switching lanes. It was only a ticket, not the end of the world.
The problem is, that put me behind schedule. I was supposed to get home by 4 p.m. to celebrate Passover — my wife is Jewish — on Zoom. I got there at 4:30, and the family was asking where I was. They weren’t mad or anything, just curious.
But still, I broke down.
The last time I’d cried was in August 2013 after retiring from a match in Winston-Salem. I’m not an emotional person. I don’t cry.
That made this really jarring.
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Some of you may know that I have struggled with mental illness. I’m going to talk a little bit about that in this story and also pass along some tips that have helped me and might help you, too.
My anxiety disorder first surfaced in 2012, when I was playing some of the best tennis of my life. The year before, I cracked the Top 10 and qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals.