More Than Diving: How Transitioning to Diving Helped Lauren Gryboski Overcome Anxiety

March 26, 2020, 2:30 p.m. (ET)

Hi, my name is Lauren Gryboski. I am currently a senior in high school and started diving towards the beginning of my junior year in September 2018, when I was almost 16 years old. Like many other divers, I am a former level 10 gymnast. I was planning to continue my gymnastics career through college, but in early 2018, I really started to struggle with my mental health. After my season ended that spring, I was able to finish out my sophomore year of high school and focus on my gymnastics training for the summer. I was hoping to make some strides in the college recruitment process, but things did not really go as planned. I have coped with anxiety for most of my life, but that summer, things took a turn for the worst. I struggled to make it through whole practices and felt my control of life slipping through my fingers.

 

It was difficult to leave the house and attend doctors’ appointments, dentist appointments, practices, social gatherings, etc., without breaking down. With the help of mental health professionals, I tried some treatments, but they were not nearly as effective as my family and I hoped they would be. When I started my junior year of high school in August, I was not able to even sit through most of my classes without fleeing the classroom during panic attacks, having to run to the counselor. For this reason, at the time, I was also only training limited hours at gymnastics. Come early September, my family and I decided it was time to leave the sport that had shaped my life since I was a toddler.

 

I was in need of another sport to help fill my time, so I thought diving may be worth a try. At the time, I was also still working on managing the anxiety and depression I was experiencing, and things were starting to look up. My mom signed me up for one lesson with Colorado Springers.

 

Afterwards, I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not, but I decided to sign up for more lessons. After just another couple lessons, I was hooked. I decided that I would also join my high school’s diving team. When I started going to more and more practices, I found my mental health taking great strides in the right direction. I was able to sit through all my classes at school and started to feel more like myself again. I think that in part, this was due to finding a sport I love so much!

 

My junior year, I did okay in club and high school diving, but really wanted to get better and better. Last spring into early summer, I was able to develop lists on both boards and 5m platform and started reaching out to colleges. One thing led to another, and just last week, I signed to dive with Boise State University! After finishing off a successful senior high school season (and hopefully a successful club season), I am more than ready to dive into (pun intended) my career as a college athlete!

 

I cannot be more grateful for the opportunities diving has given me and how it helped me work through one of the hardest few months of my life. Now I know the hard work and uncertainty of starting a new sport were all worth it.

 

Submitted by Lauren Gryboski.

 

We know that like Lauren, you believe this sport is much more than diving. Every diver has a story and we want to hear them and tell them. Email kelly@usadiving.org to submit your story or the story of an athlete, coach or club that has inspired you. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MoreThanDiving and tag USA Diving when telling your story!

 

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