The loss against Chelsea on Sunday hit me hard.
Over the years, I’ve managed to be able to put bad results behind me pretty quickly. This is something that’s taken time and now a loss doesn’t necessarily mean my whole weekend’s ruined, like it used to. I think writing for an Arsenal website also helps because it means I’m forced to process everything about the match instantly. I can’t hide away from it and with that I’m able to vent and move on.
I’m also usually quite good at finding a positive in even the biggest pile of… Although I would say I’m still realistic, I’m rarely all doom and gloom.
Sunday was different. For some reason, that 1-0 loss at home to the Blues really hit me in the gut. I was raging after the match. Usually my dad will call me and we’ll have some jovial banter about how terrible Arsenal performed. However, this time, I didn’t want to talk about it. I was too bitter and just wanted a beer and to go to bed.
I’ve since been able to process my anger towards it and I reckon it’s mainly because it was too predictable. We talk the talk when it comes to overcoming mental blocks but when it comes to walking the walk against Chelsea, we rarely come through.
Another reason I was so angry is because the majority of my football-supporting friends from my old town are Chelsea fans and seeing gloating coming from a group of people who have been deafeningly silent so far this season really got my back up.
Fortunately, my rage over the Chelsea result was a rare occurrence but for many others it isn’t. So often I’ll see people tweet about the result ruining their week and some are genuinely distraught over a loss or even a draw. Of course, on the flip side, a good results can have you walking on air for the next few days, which is great but is it really healthy to allow something that’s supposed to be enjoyable affect you so harshly?
Some will argue that the lows make the highs even sweeter and I agree to a degree but I also think that it’s useful to take a step back once in a while.
For some, football is a form of escapism, just like others read books or play computer games to get away from reality, or, of course, simply because they enjoy it, but when you begin to use something that’s supposed to be fun as a crutch, you run the risk of said crutch being taken away.
As someone who’s suffered from both depression and anxiety for a very long time, it became all too easy for me to immerse myself in football to escape the dark cloud that fogged up my brain. Instead of dealing with many of the issues in my life, I’d watch player interviews or match highlights. It was great, it made me happy and, without trying to sound too blunt, it stopped me from wanting to die.
But this meant that when we lost, I felt it like a physical pain. I’d find it impossible to sleep and when I could, I’d intermittently wake up and get that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach all over again. I’d avoid all social media and try to forget the game even happened.
Fortunately, as I said, this is something I’ve dealt with over time and I realise for many, what I’m saying may sound a little foolish. As I pointed out, writing for an Arsenal website actually feels very cathartic after a loss.
I’d encourage anyone to do the same if they’re finding themselves becoming too bogged down with anything, not just football. Taking a step back, venting and then moving on when something goes wrong is a lot easier said than done, but a lot healthier than letting it fester.