Q&A: Ike Eke on Mental Health
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. I reached out to my friend Ike Eke and he was willing to open up about his experiences on Mental Health. Eke and I went to high school together and now we are both seniors at Marquette University. Eke has been a big part of this basketball team for 4 years now. He tells us about his ups and downs throughout his career and how handles what life throws at him. I have always admired Eke's disposition and his positive attitude.
What mental health struggles have you faced in your life?
I have faced a lot of mental health issues the past few years, and I'm still battling with it today. Most of my struggles started when I first broke my back playing basketball and ever since then I have had two spine surgeries. Not being able to do the things you love can affect the way you view the world and can also have a tremendous impact on your life, both physically, emotionally, and mentally. I know I'm not the only one that is experiencing this kind of struggle, but my advice to you is that never stop fighting and always seek professional advice.
What steps have you taken to overcome these?
Some of the steps I have taken to overcome this struggle are by praying, talking to my family back home in Nigeria, and most importantly, staying positive.
What did quarantine teach you about yourself? And your mental health?
One thing that quarantine taught me is to appreciate every moment I have with anyone. For example my family, friends, or even someone that I just met today because no one knows what's going to happen tomorrow.
Do you practice any daily exercises (physical or mental) that you find beneficial for your mental health?
Yes, every Friday, I often go to a quiet place to meditate for about 30-45 minutes, and that has helped me overcome some of the struggles I face.
Mental illness and mental health are very important topics for young men, if you could go back and talk to your high school self, what is some advice you’d give to high school Eke?
If I could go back and talk to my high school self, I would tell myself to stop worrying too much about everything and enjoy every moment.
Do you have any friends/coaches/ teammates at school that you can count on when you need someone to talk to? How important is that?
Surroundings yourself with good people is very significant in life. This is one thing I really like about the coaching staff at Marquette whether you are on the basketball court or off the court, they will always hold you accountable for your action. They do a good job of building a good environment for the players to the point that the players could talk to them about some of the things they are experiencing. Most importantly my family in Michigan, my older sister, Nneka, my coaches, and my formal teammate Markus Howard. This's important because they are always there for you whenever you need them. They care about your well-being and they will always hold you accountable.
Do you have a simple motto or mantra that you like to live by? What influenced that?
“Everything happened for a reason” This is because of the things that I have gone through in life. Whenever something unexpected happened in my, I often say this phrase because it helps me to deal with the stress, or whatever I'm facing.