WASHINGTON: Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad had to overcome not only physical hurdles, but mental and emotional ones too on her road to success.
Mohammed, the first Muslim American woman to represent Team USA wearing a hijab in the Olympics and the first Muslim American woman to win medal opens up about dealing with anxiety and depression in her new memoir, Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream.
“I battled with depression for quite a long time,” said Mohammed in an interview with Glamour published Monday. “Self-care is important,” the New Jersey native told. “It is not a sign of weakness to seek help when you need it. In fact, it’s brave.”
Describing the physical effects of her performance anxiety, the influencer and inspiration for a Barbie doll said,
“After years of hard work, I qualified for the United States National Team. It was a dream realized: I was representing my country at the highest level, traveling the world to compete,” she recalled. “As one of the top saber fencers in the world, I never doubted that I belonged among the best.” Unfortunately, that confidence wasn’t enough. “But in 2014, I started suffering from performance anxiety. At first, I had no idea what was happening. The morning of a competition I’d wake up feeling lethargic and sleepy — overwhelmingly so — despite having had a good night’s rest.” She recalled feeling “completely detached from reality.”
Muhammad also speaks about how she was raised, the discrimination she experiences daily and her first experiences wearing a hijab.
Watch the full inspiring conversation below.