I am not a clinician, but in my personal experience, depression related to sports can be some of the most difficult forms of depression to cope with. Ask my wife how I’ve moped around the house!
As I write this, Green Bay Packers fans are wearing sackcloth over what many of us thought would finally be a Super Bowl year. It’s the flip side to how excited sports fans get over their favorite team, whoever that may be, and whatever the sport. We are UP when times are good. We are DOWN when times are tough and losses mount. (As in the case of the Pack who have lost five-straight games, unheard of for the Green and Gold.)
Part of what makes "sports depression" so tough is the finality of it all. One minute you’re a Philadelphia Phillies fan, two wins from a World Series title in sight. The next thing you know, pffft, the Houston Astros are the champions.
Coming so close to a championship, and then losing is difficult. You’ve rooted for a favorite team week after week, month after month… and then, boom, it’s all over for another year. That is TOUGH stuff to take! And not just Phillies fans. Those of us in Packerland, who have suffered through some heartbreaking Packers playoff losses in recent years understand this all too well!
Here are a few ideas I've found that can help:
* Remember it's still just a game. Not always an easy one, for sure, but it's still true. Are you gainfully employed? Do you have your health? Great kids? A loving spouse? Take any or all of those away, and a crushing loss, or even a joyous win, is put in its proper perspective. Or look at it this way, isn’t it supposed to be entertainment? And pro athletes make millions regardless. Right?
*Regular season defeats, though difficult, can actually be EASIER. Not every Packers fan, nor sports enthusiast in general, might agree with me on this one, but in my opinion, if I know Green Bay is more than likely not playoff bound, such as the unfortunate case this year, an enthusiast has had at least some time to brace himself for the inevitable – that he’ll be watching other teams come NFL playoff time. Not fun, but at least there is more time to switch gears to other pursuits.
* When it’s LATE in a given sports season, and your team is still playing, remember how fortunate you are that your team is still alive, when most have cleaned out their lockers for the off season. Regardless of the season or sports, many teams go YEARS without earning a postseason berth.
Keep things in perspective. Not always easy! But it can help.
* If your team loses, it's not so bad if you are down in the dumps for a day or two. If you are extremely depressed long after that, you "may" need psychiatric help. Some additional tips are offered at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-game/201811/combating-depression-and-anxiety-in-sports
I hope your team wins!