‘We all go through micro depression’: RCT prostitute Christopher Tolofua speaks after his long injury

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You admitted that you developed some form of depression following your injury at Midi Olympique (tear of the cruciate ligaments followed by a surgery in May 2021). When did you realize you weren’t okay?

during the initial infection. I didn’t understand what happened to me. I was sore, on pills, bedridden… Six weeks after the surgery, I still hadn’t touched the ground… I was wondering if I would be able to walk again… J When I got up, I had nausea while climbing the stairs and I was afraid it would be permanent. It was really tough, and this first infection hurt me. Especially from the day I had the chance to walk again, I realized that I needed to strengthen the muscles, and it would take a long time. Then there is the second infection. Repeat…

How did you manage to get out of it?

The process was to gather as much information as possible about people who had experienced this type of injury. The problem is, I didn’t have any benign surgery, my house was full… So I needed to understand what was going to happen to me during rehab, recovery training, back to competition… the medical staff helped me establish a routine, rehab. And I know this injury has changed the way I approach my work.

So?

Now I will prepare like an old man (laughs). So twice as much stretching, strengthening, etc. It was a long injury, I tried to realize it quickly to empty myself, to mourn the competition. From the day after the surgery, I tried to keep my mind busy, stay in touch with the group and plan for the next season.

When did you see the end of the tunnel?

The day I can run. in November/December. It happened gradually, but that’s when I started to regain my confidence.

What was the role of your three children and your spouse in the most difficult moments?

I had surgery in May, at the peak of my injury in the middle of summer. The hardest part was seeing my children before I could carry them… I could not hold my daughter in my arms, I could not play with her… I am very close to my children and I suffer from it. Fortunately, my wife did everything to accompany me. I tried to help him, to make him feel that I was with him… But he was the one who carried everything on his shoulders. He was there for me, for them, he bent over backwards, remained calm, took his time and I will be forever grateful.

I have great respect for actress wives. They see us break up every weekend, we take on all the responsibilities… Living with a top athlete, playing, training is fine, everything is going well. But when less goes, they’re incredible. And we can’t thank them enough. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to recover from my injury if it weren’t for my wife and children.

Paradoxically, did the injury strengthen your family?

I’ve always said: I will never sacrifice my family for rugby. They supported me, they were always by my side. When you’re hurt, the phone rings less, you’re face to face with yourself, and only your family keeps you going. They always made time for me and I need them every day.

Are you fully recovered today?

Yes. Between practice, Wednesday off, games, I found a more “classic” daily life… I put on my cleats again, set goals for myself again. I was looking forward to it.

You are one of the first players to take the armor down and you have actually been one of the spokespersons for raising awareness about depression in sport. Was it important?

Necessary. I’ve met many actors who ended their careers early and were left alone overnight. End of career, breach of contract… You point to unemployment, you write a resume, a cover letter, you try to re-engage in working life… So how do you apply for a job? These are trivial things that we are not prepared for… Playing in the Top 14, we wash your belongings, accompany you, get pampered, get treatment in the morning and afternoon.. But when it closes … I often think of Gabriel Lacroix (his career after a long injury 27). Former French football player who graduated at the age of 18, editor’s note).

Why?

He was phenomenal on the pitch and all it took was an injury to make it all come crashing down… He discovered active life overnight. It’s strange… We all go through micro depression even though we can’t always put it into words… You have to be prepared. Being ready to fall, get up, fit into a system… We’ve taken care of our extra rugby for years, but life isn’t like that… So carry is a big word but I thought talking about it might help some guys. Help them understand that behind the smiling, joking bonnard man there is work to be done on him. We must be able to find the answers before we find ourselves against the wall.

What support(s) would you like the Clubs, League or Federation to activate?

It is important to make clubs aware of the importance of building support and mental preparation. Naturally, we don’t turn to specialists… It’s not easy to go to a trainer, a mental health professional… It’s even a bit taboo.

Why?

The guy will talk to you about psychology, he will have to trust you when you don’t intend to… But we need to understand that they are professionals, professionals who have done long studies and practiced professional secrets. Must follow etiquette rules. We have a right to some kind of vulnerability, it’s not a crime. We have to support the players in these matters.

How was your speech received?

I got a lot of messages from old players, players. Thanks, encouragement. To highlight this passage in life that many athletes know is also to think about new generations. It encompasses an environment that goes beyond sports performance… In my career, I’ve met guys who stood on a pedestal and fell overnight. Or the players who grit their teeth to not show their weaknesses… I was told that he was brave, but it was very important to me to say it in front of everyone.