Lita On How She Coped With Mental Health Issues In WWE

WWE Hall of Famer Lita recently sat down with Steve Muehlhausen of DAZN to talk about the "Tag Me In" initiative. "Tag Me In" focuses on normalizing the conversation about mental health in pro wrestling, and Lita was asked why it had taken so long to get this conversation started in wrestling and other sports.

"Professional sports, in general, is all about being at the top of your game physically, but mentally is also tied in," Lita said. "I think it's a perceived weakness that I don't want to show or let anybody in to think that I can't perform at my top level. But really, it all goes hand in hand. If you can't be at your top level and feel comfortable mentally, you're physically inhibiting yourself from performing at your top. So it needs to be extended as a part of your training and not only the physical preparation that goes into it but check in with yourself mentally to make sure that you're dealing with whatever it is that you need to deal with, whether it is your anxiety, depression or feelings of loneliness to know that you're not alone."

Lita was asked if she herself had ever gone through such issues while she was a top star in WWE during the mid 2000's. She credited a strong support group always being available to talk to her to help her when she was having a tough time.

"I am a talker," Lita said. "I've been so fortunate that I'm close friends with a core group of my girlfriends from high school. They've always been a great support system for me. So I just had that built-in for me for a long time. I would get in the rental car after my match, or if I had a bad day at work, or if I had something I felt I needed to get off my chest, I built that network in that. I would go to one and if they don't answer the phone, I'm going to go to the next one on the phone and be like 'no, you're gonna listen to this.'

"I find a lot of times, even if it's just like getting it out, so it isn't suppressed in there and having someone go 'yeah, that does suck.' And you go 'great, thanks, I feel better now. That's all I needed.' It was just someone to listen to me and not feel that I had to bottle this up and keep going. I've been fortunate. I don't like to bottle things up. It doesn't bode well for me because then I'm going to lash out at the poor cashier at my grocery store, and that's not right."

So far, the "Tag Me In" initiative has featured many individual wrestling stars from the United States, but no involvement from promotions like AEW and WWE. Lita was asked if she would like to see those promotions, or others, get involved.

"I think definitely in professional sports, it's more focused, and just checking in would be great," Lita said. "There are these huge companies in professional sports, and just to add an additional point of resource to check in, I think it could provide huge benefits and potentially more profits, which obviously any company is looking at. But if you can have your performers performing at a top level because they feel great, that works for everyone. I would love that."