Today I welcome Mikaela Brewer who openly shares her journey as a high-performance athlete and how it brought her immense joy and complex challenges.
**A gentle warning, this episode discusses suicide. If you are feeling vulnerable in this area, please consult with a doctor or mental health professional in your area. Or call one of the Suicide Prevention numbers listed in the resources.**
Mikaela Brewer is a writer, speaker, researcher, mental health advocate, and the author of The Sifting Project, her first novel. She is also a proud Stanford Women’s Basketball alumnae and a former member of Team Canada.
Alongside a good cup of coffee, Mikaela lives for research and writing projects that capture her curiosity. A multi-disciplinary writer, she has written poetry, fiction, neuroscience and sports psychology research, news, op-eds, and features for various platforms and organizations.
Mikaela believes in the voice of change, unique to stories, and the way fiction feels like people’s lyrics. These beliefs are braided into the backbone of The Sifting Project, a story that seeks to challenge beliefs, motivate and comfort.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
Who is Mikaela Brewer
Her passion for basketball
Her love for writing
Being a high-performance athlete
Athletes and their mental health
Struggling with OCD
Mikaela’s attempted suicide
Losing her counselor to suicide
Her science fiction novel
Being a multi-disciplinary writer
Not having the words
The mental health space
Finding the language
Help for young athletes
What next for Mikaela
An app for athletes
What Mikaela is grateful for
06:39 – “But I think there’s also a very complicated side of this where, you know, athletes are put on a pedestal and expected, you know, to perform all the time and perform for everybody else. And that gets placed at a higher priority than mental and physical well-being. And that’s the tricky part because there is a lot of hype and excitement. And that’s an amazing part of the experience. But athletes very quickly can equate that with their self-worth”.
16:45 – “… We want to put the people who can do that, who can package their words well, onto a pedestal and say, like, this is an example of what mental toughness is. And this is an example of how you get to the other side of a bridge. Even the people who can package the words well and do a podcast or write a book, they’re never really on the other side of, you know, the bridge of mental illness and living with it. They’re always kind of somewhere in between. And some days, you’re further towards the start line, then you are at the finish line. And that’s okay. But we don’t inherently value that as a society. And that’s what’s tricky. And I think it comes down to like, you know, what’s available for crisis support”.
19:29 – “…I work a little bit with the Reach Out Response Network, which is in Toronto, developing those teams and who’s going to be on those teams who are more qualified actually to respond. And I mean, imagine a world where, you know, you could make that phone call and know that somebody was going to respond to your needs, who knew what you needed, and knew that it was okay. And we’re going to validate that it’s okay that you don’t have words and you can’t package anything together at that moment”.
As a warning, this episode discusses suicide, so if you are feeling vulnerable in this area, please consult with a doctor or mental health professional in your area. Or call one of the Suicide Prevention numbers below.
Distress Center – 24-hour crisis line 403-266 – HELP (4357)
Crisis Services Canada – text or call – 833-456-4566 or text 45645
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (in the US) : 1-800-273-8255
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Thanks for listening,