"It just felt so suffocating. I wasn't sleeping at all and I just felt like I was wasting away," Amelia Kerr on her fight with mental health

Virat Kohli, Serena Williams, Glen Maxwell spoke about mental health previously. This time, Amelia Kerr speaks about her journey with it.

Shreya Ghosh
New Update

There was a time when not many people cared about the term "Mental Health". To be fair, it is something that most people simply neglected. but times are changing and with that, the awareness of our wellbeing and mental health is increasing as well. Over the past few years, we saw spotspersons of the likes of Virat Kohli, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, Glen Maxwell speaking about mental health and its significance. This time, the New Zealand all-rounder Amelia Kerr speaks about her journey with it.


Image Credit- Getty Images

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Amelia Kerr was sent home from a training camp of the New Zealand women's team for safety reasons. Her close friend and teammate Maddy Green accompanied her while returning home. Maddy has been one of her biggest companions in Kerr's journey of anxiety and depression. The all-rounder hid all her struggles from her family in the beginning but they came to know everything later. Her parents took yer to the hospital the very next day and that started her journey to reach where she is today, mentally.

I wasn't sleeping at all: Amelia Kerr

Mental health does not only break the affected person but also affects the entire family. Amelia's experience was quite similar as well. She said, "I've never seen my dad so broken in his life. That was the thing that really was like, Wow, for me. Then I got taken to the crisis team at the emergency department and got into a psychiatrist. I think if my family didn't get involved, I would still be suffering now. It just felt so suffocating. I wasn't sleeping at all and I just felt like I was wasting away. It felt like you were slowly drowning."

Speaking of her family's support, she said, "I needed that confronting experience, and all of that to happen for me to get to where I am. My family has been amazing. I have a huge extended family and we're all extremely close. For so long I couldn't tell my family because they were the closest people to me and I didn't want to hurt them because I knew they would find it hard seeing me struggle. I tried to hide it from them, but they needed to know what I was going through because when they did find out, it was the most important thing and they got a plan in place. It made me realize how important that was to tell them and how much you are loved as well."

She could feel the hardships of mental health during New Zealand's tour of Australia in September 2020 and also WBBL with Brisbane Heat. Kerr had to stay away from her family for a long time and it badly triggered her health mentally. Only the sport she loves, "Cricket", kept her sane. She continued her training as it was the only way to throw away all the negativity and issues. She did not feel overwhelmed and stayed in a focused zone while playing.

It's a bit scary to think that she is only 21: Sophie Devine

Sophie Devine, the White Ferns captain, has a good old relationship with the Kerr household. Devine was the babysitter to the Kerr sisters. She said, "The thing that impresses me most about Melie is, she's always hungry to get better. And she tries to surround herself with people that are going to push her.

"She spends hours and hours and hours just hitting balls or out in the field or just wanting to talk cricket, so I think she's going to continue to get better and better as a player. It's a bit scary to think that she is only 21 because it feels like she's been around for yonks, but I think she's certainly got so much more to give to this game as well," Devine says.

Amelia broke her right hand's ring finger during May 2021 while catching drill. This was the time when her mental health started taking a toll and it was degrading. "My mind would just race and there would be little voices in my head. That was a scary time but I'm glad that I've gone through it and understand it more because I don't want it to happen again. It was extremely tough. It just felt so suffocating. I wasn't sleeping at all and I think the lack of sleep obviously doesn't help, but I just felt like I was wasting away. It felt like you were slowly drowning - that's what it felt like."

She started the healing process and started visiting a psychologist in 2020. Kerr is still under medication and in a lot better state of mind. Throughout her journey, Devine remained huge support. Devine decided to stay away from the sport last year to take care of her mental health as she was dealing with anxiety, depression, and exhaustion.

There is a perceived notion that players need to be strong-headed at all times. These bio-bubbles, staying away from loved ones are playing with players' mental health. At the end of the day, they are humans too and they also need love, care, and peace of mind.

Amelia Kerr