Bristol Rovers star discusses mental health challenges

Bristol Rovers striker Sam Nicholson has spoken about his mental health battles, saying his mind felt “like a washing machine” when his problems were at their worst. Nicholson says a period of bottling up his feelings had a considerable impact on his career and well-being.

Bristol Rovers star discusses mental health challenges

Dealing with the pressures of football

Nicholson linked the pressures of football to his mental health challenges, but said he started to feel better once he opened up about them. The footballer told the GasCast podcast that he now feels more able to deal with negative thinking. Nicholson said he experienced problems with his mental health when playing in several different countries including America, Scotland and England.

The star said he started to struggle with his mental health once he had established himself in the world of football and played more than 50 games. Once he reached the age of 20, he started to battle with negative thoughts and “started getting more down at things” that he would have laughed off previously.

Withdrawal from social life

When Nicholson started playing in the US, he spent a great deal of time staying indoors during his free time rather than socialising with his new teammates. One big turning point for Nicholson was when he got a dog. He told the podcast that “the good thing about dogs is it doesn’t matter how much of a bad person you are; they love you regardless and that helped me start feeling a bit better.” He then started a new relationship and began to open up to his new girlfriend, who he says was “very understanding”.

Nicholson also spoke to a physio at Colarado about the way he was feeling and said “it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders”. He advises those struggling with their mental health to “speak out about it”.

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