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Kevin Love opens up about mental health, including his own panic attack during a game

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Love left a Cleveland Cavaliers game early during a mental health scare. He wants to have a conversation about that.

NBA: All Star Game-Team LeBron Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Love revealed Tuesday that he suffered a panic attack during a game last November and has seen a therapist in the months since that happened. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward shared his experience on The Player’s Tribune and talked about the importance of discussing mental health.

“For 29 years, I thought about mental health as someone else’s problem,” Love admitted in the story. “Sure, I knew on some level that some people benefited from asking for help or opening up. I just never thought it was for me. To me, it was form of weakness that could derail my success in sports or make me seem weird or different.”

Love described his panic attack happening on Nov. 5 against the Atlanta Hawks, a game where he played just 18 minutes and left in the second half. Love says he visited the hospital when he couldn’t control his racing heart and felt short of breath, and although his vitals all checked out, the incident led Love to realize the seriousness of mental health issues.

In the worst few moments sitting on the bench disorientated, and later while in the team training room, Love remembers feeling like his body was telling him, “You’re going to die.”

Love goes onto describe his first (and subsequent) meeting with a therapist, how they discussed the passing of his grandmother that happened a few years ago, and why he thinks it’s important that people discuss these things. He wrote:

In the short time I’ve been meeting with the therapist, I’ve seen the power of saying things out loud in a setting like that. And it’s not some magical process. It’s terrifying and awkward and hard, at least in my experience so far. I know you don’t just get rid of problems by talking about them, but I’ve learned that over time maybe you can better understand them and make them more manageable. Look, I’m not saying, Everyone go see a therapist. The biggest lesson for me since November wasn’t about a therapist — it was about confronting the fact that I needed help.

In the NBA, we recently saw DeMar DeRozan tweet and later open up about struggling with depression. Love admitted that DeRozan’s candid thoughts and feelings helped convince him to share his story on The Player’s Tribune.

It’s easy to view athletes as public figures who are terribly dissimilar to us, but that’s a hurtful stigma. As Love shows, mental health can affect anybody’s life.

You can (and should!) read Love’s full story here.