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WWE News: AJ Lee talks about living with mental illness

The former WWE Superstar discusses her experiences in dealing and coming to terms with mental illness.


AJ Lee durin
AJ Lee during her WWE days

What’s the story?

Former WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee recently sat down for an interview with Chicago Magazine in which she discussed her experiences living with mental illness.

Lee, now known primarily as AJ Mendez Brooks, was featured alongside a US Navy vet, a former Chicago Bulls cheerleader and comedians such as Wrestling with Depression’s Marty DeRosa in Chicago Magazine’s video entitled Living with Mental Illness (and What to Know if You’re Not). The video was part of the magazine’s efforts to help promote Mental Illness Awareness Week.

In case you didn’t know…

Since 1990, the first week of October has been recognised as Mental Illness Awareness Week and is used as an opportunity to promote community outreach and public education concerning a range of mental illnesses.

AJ herself is a known sufferer of bipolar disorder, having addressed the condition in her recently-released book Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules.

The heart of the matter

Along with her peers, AJ discussed being diagnosed, hiding her illness and dealing with stigmas.

Specifically, she remembers how hearing her diagnosis was “the most liberating, relieving feeling in the world” and that “getting an answer let me know that there was nothing wrong with me, I just had to work a little bit harder.”

She also provided an interesting insight into the “irony” of playing a character on television who was supposed to be “unstable” and “out of her mind” and how in a way, the experience was “like hiding in plain sight” her illness.

The entire interview provides some very valuable takes on mental health issues, so it’s well worth checking out the video below:

What's next?

Don’t expect any of AJ’s next steps to involve the world of professional wrestling. Having retired from the industry in April 2015, she now devotes most of her time to writing as well as various philanthropic pursuits.

In particular, she’s been announced as a Keynote speaker at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) New Jersey Annual Conference, which takes place on Dec 2 in Jamesburg, NI.

Author’s take

AJ Mendez Brooks has been -- and continues to be -- a very positive role model for anyone currently struggling with coming to terms with mental illness, and it's great to see her -- and others in the video -- speaking with this kind of openness and acceptance about an issue that is all too often repressed.

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