Former Paris Saint-Germain Right-Back Opens up About Battle With Anxiety and Panic Attacks

In 2020, society is becoming more open to understanding issues that many people go through regarding their mental health. Even athletes have begun sharing their stories, disproving that money and fame can solve all of life’s problems. 

Former Paris Saint-Germain right-back Gregory Van der Wiel spent four seasons with the capital club. When the Netherlands international left Les Parisiens in 2016, he bounced around joining Cagliari Calcio and Toronto FC, where he last played.

The 32-year-old is currently without a club, but that’s not what’s important. Van der Wiel recently made it known on his website that he’s dealing with panic attacks and anxiety. He also describes his first encounter with the two mental illnesses, which he first thought there was something wrong with him physically. 

Ultimately, Van der Wiel figured that the issue might have to do with his mental health. The former PSG player began opening about the last few years of his career, where he felt frustration, anger, disappointment, and sadness. 

“The last years of my career have not been easy,” Van der Wiel said. “After not always having been fully happy in Paris, after a difficult year in Istanbul and a few bad months in Cagliari, the biggest emotional shock came when I was forced to leave Toronto FC. My career slowly came to a halt. At the time, I didn’t realize what it had done to me emotionally.”

Nonetheless, Van der Wiel concludes with some positivity, stating that he’s now living in his native Amsterdam, where he feels much better. 

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