'Need to stop': Aussie cricketer's brave reveal about mental health

Tahlia Wilson, pictured here speaking to Yahoo Sport Australia for the 'Mind Games' series.
Tahlia Wilson speaks to Yahoo Sport Australia for the 'Mind Games' series. Image: Getty/Yahoo Sport Australia

Aussie cricketer Tahlia Wilson has opened up about the moment she realised she needed to take a break from the game for her mental health.

Speaking to Yahoo Sport Australia for the 'Mind Games' series, the NSW Breakers and Sydney Thunder wicketkeeper revealed she got to a point before the WBBL in 2020 where she was completely burnt out.

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The 22-year-old said the four years prior had been such a whirlwind that she didn't have time to step back and take care of her mental health.

"I signed my first contract, I'd just finished school and then I think it all just hit me at once," she said.

"At that point in time I really didn't know what to do. I definitely had a lot of expectations on myself.

"I was probably trying harder and harder to make sure I had a spot on the team and I did find out that I was going to be the main wicketkeeper for the season.

"I think that did add a little bit of extra pressure so I wanted to put in as much as I could through the pre-season."

Wilson said a "whole lot of everything" culminated in her feeling physically and mentally fatigued.

"I just thought 'if I can push through I'll get a break in a few weeks and then I'll head into Big Bash'," she said.

"I just didn't really want to get inside my head and say, 'you need to stop, you do have something wrong'.

"It was more of 'I'm an athlete, this is what I'm expected to do'."

Wilson said she got to a point where she felt like she'd be letting her teammates down if she put her hand up to say she wasn't ok.

"I started to not trust my own game and the relationships that I had with the people around me," she said.

"Not only was I not thinking straight from a cricket point of view, I think it started to impact how I was treating other people and how much time I was spending with them."

Tahlia Wilson, pictured here in action for the NSW Breakers against Tasmania.
Tahlia Wilson in action for the NSW Breakers against Tasmania. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images) (Mark Evans via Getty Images)

Moment Tahlia Wilson realised she needed to stop

Wilson said a wellness monitoring check undertaken during a pre-season camp in Coffs Harbour returned orange markers when they would normally be green or yellow.

"A lot of the girls were starting to notice that I was really physically fatigued and I don't think they realised what was going on mentally," she said.

"I was loving being around the girls but I was that mentally fatigued that I didn't want to spend that much time around anyone."

One of Wilson's closest friends on the team noticed that she wasn't her usual self and provided the spark she needed to get some help.

Tahlia Wilson, pictured here in action for the Sydney Thunder in the WBBL in 2021.
Tahlia Wilson in action for the Sydney Thunder in the WBBL in 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images) (Sarah Reed via Getty Images)

"I was lucky that one of my close friends noticed that I wasn't talking as much. She did send a message to me when I was in bed and that's when I realised I wasn't ok, she knows I'm not ok and she's just waiting for me to tell her," she said.

"I did message her back and tell her that, so the next day on our bus trip back home we sat down and I just let out everything that was happening.

"That's when she said 'look, in your best interests I think you just need to have a week off and refresh'."

Wilson said she got in touch with the Cricket NSW psychologist and was able to pick up on the 'yellow flags' before they became 'red flags'.

"It was a big learning to be able to talk about it with other people and start to make it a bit more know," she said.

"In the next few years that mental game does become a lot more important than the physical game."

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