Breaking the chains of depression


jankoTipsarevic10Two years ago Janko Tpsarevic has faced a horrifying news – he was diagnosed with a tumor on his heel. Two operations followed. Recently he had a knee surgery as well. For this 31 years old tennis player, ever since  nothing has been the same.
Even though still eager to play and to win, this hard period of life he was forced to spend in bed, receiving therapies, experiencing severe inner struggling at the same time.
Having heard the prognosis after second heel operation that he’ll never be able to play tennis on the level that he used to, he was agonized. And even worse – there is the possibility that the tumor could reappear – in that case, after the third surgery he could still live a normal life, but never play tennis again.
All this made him withdraw and fall into depression. There were times when he hasn’t spoken a single word for days. He says that he was going through hard times, that he couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but never stopped  trying to do something useful, to keep his mind off the present situation. In  the end that effort  helped him to overcome personal crisis.
This top athlete admits in his sincere and charming way that he isn’t very optimistic person by nature, but neither the pessimistic one who would give up easily. He showed this many times in court. This time he was determined to win and overcome all the obstacles and troubles that he’s been facing for past three years.
– What I regret now is that I was rushing to get back in court. I wasn’t patient enough. As soon as I felt only a bit better, I was out, playing tennis…. I’m learning to be patient now. During this period I have realized that working on oneself is the best treatment that we can offer to ourselves, no matter what difficulties surround us – says Janko for Bg online.
– I shall quote one of my favorite authors, Charles Bukowski – “ When shit happens you have to admit it to yourself , but still be brave enough to keep on going without masking it with fake optimism.” I have admitted to myself that the situation is seriously bad. I was aware all the time that I have a tumor in my leg and that it is a disaster, but I’ve been brave and strong enough to take crutches in my hands , go to gym  and do something good for myself.jankoTipsarevic2

Medications as candies

Janko says that his spouse Biljana has been much more positive than he was. On those hard moments she knew how to approach him but as well to understand his need for loneliness from time to time.
Just one look at their daughter Emili was always giving him new strength. She was the only person who wasn’t always asking him is he feeling any pain, so the conversations with her were the least stressful  ones.
Janko has forgot how does a day without pain look like. At one point of time he had problems with liver as the consequence of pain killer overdosing.
I was taking them as candies, just to make the pain go away – Janko reveals. When I was feeling totally down I would look some motivational speech, I would read a book, but I realized that masking of the real situation is the worst path towards the progress. I don’t believe in “self-help” literature. It isn’t bad, it promotes love and work on oneself, but I don’t rely much on it and I don’t think that I will find there answers on what  I’m  supposed to do in order to feel better. We are all alone in this world and we should all be strong enough to overcome the  darkest problems.

When the going gets tough….

jankoTipsarevic3Facing the reality and problems often isn’t easy. Janko says that he’s been brave as much as anybody else would be – sometimes fearless and sometimes weak…
I always have in my mind Rocky Balboa’s words – “It doesn’t matter how hard you can hit but how many times you can get up” You need to be strong when life hits you. There were times when I was completely worn out, so many things went through my head in past three years.
Depression is a bad enemy. Janko had professional help, but somehow it seems that he’s been his own best therapist.
-My personal life, my social life, everything around me was great at that time, but none of it could make me happy. My only satisfaction was to play tennis. But I wasn’t able to. So I tried to compensate it by trying to make Janko Tipsarevic a better person. But it all ended up with me not wanting to do anything else. I couldn’t see an ending to it all. If someone came to me now, offering me one more year of pausing, of not doing anything , but promising  me that after that I won’t be in pain anymore, I would have accepted it immediately.


Wishing for the victory isn’t enough

Many theories say that illness has its way from head and emotions to our bodies. Janko says that he believes in the power of men’s thoughts.
– If you think you can, you are right – you can. If you think that you can’t, you are right again – you can’t. But many people get it wrong, believing that it is enough to wish, and not to work. Novak Djokovic didn’t recently decide to become what he is now, he did it when he was seven. In one interview he openly said that he is going to be world’s number one, ha hardly worked on it ever since, and look at him today – he succeeded.jankoTipsarevic
Many tennis players have their motivational life coachers and psychologists whom they ask for advice and who inspire them to succeed.  I wish I had a consultant like that with whom I could work throughout the year.
– During the period of depression, Janko stood out with his attempt to spare people around him from his state of mind.
– I wasn’t a burden to others, I didn’t impose my problems to them, I was just telling them to leave me alone and not to ask me anything. Some people transfer their instability to others, but I am not of that kind. I crawl in my bed, put a blanket over my head and keep my mouth shut. This hasn’t been easy for my wife.

Healing meditation

jankoTipsarevic5They say tears can heal. Janko Tipsarevic says that he caught himself crying few times since it all began.
– I think one should cry if he feels like crying. I developed depression while I was letting my thoughts wander. They constantly reminded me of what I have achieved so far and that even though, I can’t play anymore, and that my return “in the game” is quite uncertain. Then I called back all those thoughts, I collected them, I packed them, and told myself that my time will come again.
For this top athlete of most help was hard work and meditation.
– I tried meditation earlier, but ever since what happened to me, I was meditating 4 – 5 times a week in order to find my inner peace. Although healing, meditation isn’t the solution.
After all I’ve been through, my conclusion is that I am addicted to tennis. I could have never guessed how much it means to me and how much I could be missing it. Players sometimes get tired of it all. While being in tennis machinery  you don’t have much time to think about anything. It all becomes the way of life. You are not aware of it until one day you find yourself helpless. Then you realize how much it means to you.

Branka Gajić

Photo: Milica Ristić, Jakov Simović i Ivana Karić/ Fabrika fotografa

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