Wright Enjoys Golf Again Minus Depression

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Lindsey Wright appeared in good spirits on Thursday following a five-under-par 67 opening round drew her a step closer to the edge of Poppie’s Pond, the challenge that faces the Kraft Nabisco Championship winner.

Wright managed to birdie five out of the last nine holes she made at Mission Hills Country Club, staying a stroke behind pack leader Amy Yang. But the finish was apparently not the reason why Wright seemed to be in a good mood. A year and two months ago, Wright started taking medication daily for depression and anxiety. Prior to her condition being diagnosed, she almost quit golf, questioning what she had left to live for.

Wright claimed that she could have shot 80 and yet would still have felt great. She described herself as no longer feeling like she was swimming with weights or dragging excess baggage everywhere. “I sleep better,” she admitted, “and I’m happier.”

The 32-year-old Wright grew up in Australia, having attended Pepperdine. When she was a senior, she finished at second place in the 2011 NCAA championships, next to Georgia’s Candy Hannermann. She played on the Futures Tour and then matriculated to the LPGA tour, where she was met with an atmosphere that was definitely not the least bit collegial. She reportedly felt like an outsider and described feeling homesick and lonely after spending months away from her family.

She described the tour as an isolated, introverted world, finding no relief in her brief visits home. She seemed to notice that everyone else had families while she was all by herself. She conceded that there was nothing wrong with it if there was a healthy balance.

During the first half of 2009, Wright played well, having finished second and fourth at the LPGA and Kraft Nabisco Championship, respectively.

After those two victories, Wright seemed to slip down in what she described as a “quick” happening.

“I just couldn’t really get though it,” she said.

Wright turned 30 years old on the last day of 2009, which was a low point for her. After that, at the Women’s British Open in 2010, Wright shot rounds of 77 and 73, missing the cut, and she burst into tears.

She explained that while people would wonder what was wrong with her golf, she would think to herself, it was not her golf, but it was her head.

Whereas most people think of depression as something she just needed to get over, she admits that it impacted her physically. “It’s a bit of a nightmare.”

Typically, athletes are trained to plow through whatever barriers, including both physical and mental challenges. In fact, Wright described how she was brought up to believe that she just had to get over the troubles and move on.

One time, though, she was at home when she saw a woman describe her personal struggle with depression on television. A while later, at the persuasion of a non-athlete friend, Wright finally sought medical help.

“I wish I’d done it sooner,” she admitted.

Last year, Wright played in 16 events, with the last four months taken off to explore the possibility of life minus competitive golf.

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