Great Britain goalkeeper Maddie Hinch has opened up about being diagnosed with depression last year, saying she ‘dreaded putting on her pads’ at times.
“It has been tough but I’m glad I have a diagnosis where I know what is going on inside my head” she told the Daily Mail.
“There were honestly times when I dreaded putting on my pads. If you hurt your knee you get help and it should be the same for your head. I wish I had done it years ago.”
The gold medal won by the Great Britain women’s hockey team in Rio was one of the stories of the games which drew plenty of attention from fans and non-fans alike. Hinch, whose heroics in the shootout gained her unprecedented levels of fame for a hockey player admits she was unprepared for the attention such an achievement was about to bring her.
“What I struggled with most was living up to an expectation to be some kind of superhero. That is what I was reading and seeing and after a while it became a pressure. By 2018 it had become an obsession. In my head I had to stop everything, I had to put in that perfect performance every time I played.”
“I was a perfectionist anyway but it went too far. I became scared of mistakes, of not living up to what people said about me. It was a hard year.”
The 32-year-old decided to take some time away from hockey to recharge, but not many know how close she was to never playing again:
“When I left, I was burnt out,” she says. “I might have said it was a break but I was done. I just wanted to go diving in Australia and escape. After a while I missed it, which I thought was good. I wanted to play, to re-engage, and I needed that, to have that feeling.”
Despite her return to hockey, she knew something still wasn’t quite right and just over a year ago she began therapy and was diagnosed with depression.
With the FIH Pro League resuming this week, Hinch says she is ‘trying to re-adjust what is important’ and also adds “all I would change in my career is speaking to people earlier. I spent two years saying I was fine and it made it worse.”