Jelena Dokic has opened up on her exhausting work schedule and her mental health processes in a vulnerable Instagram post.
The Australian tennis icon has become one of the nation’s most prominent voices on mental health since revealing her struggles with depression, online abuse, family violence and body-shaming, posting uplifting and open content on Instagram regularly since revelations in mid-2022 that she came close to taking her own life.
Dokic reached the dizzying heights of the world No. 10 ranking, and remains the only qualifier to ever defeat the world No. 1 at Wimbledon with her 1999 straight sets upset over Martina Hingis.
Dokic works as a coach at Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club in Melbourne’s inner south-east, as well as undertaking commentary duties for Channel Nine at the four majors in addition to being a regular on the public speaking circuit.
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“Exhausted and overwhelmed,” she wrote on Instagram.
“Hairspray in my hair, makeup on my face, my dress is still on from the day’s events and I have no energy to even get up off the couch and get myself to bed,” she said.
“Haven’t stopped working and I love it but I am not good at saying no when I should and I always say yes to all requests.
“Also, sometimes I am not great at putting myself first.
“It gets me into trouble more with myself than anything else.
“My work will never suffer, you will never know it and I will never show it.
“Because I have the ability to push myself way past my limits and work extreme circumstances.
“But behind closed doors I get overwhelmed, more from fatigue and lack of sleep than anything else.”
Dokic described herself as having “hit the wall” after “doing eight events in four days and four in one day alone”.
“My mind and body had enough and I all of a sudden couldn’t get off the couch to even have a shower and wash my hair,” she said.
“That’s how exhausted I was.
“So while this was all because of lack of sleep it accumulated in me crying and having anxiety.
“The good thing was that I knew exactly what and why it was happening.
“I didn’t beat myself up about it or give myself a hard time but instead I looked at it as a good lesson to learn from.
“Sleep and self-care is so important.
“While we talk about it all the time, sometimes putting it into practice is harder than we think.”
It comes as part of a progression of being more and more open with her mental health as part of a concerted effort to bring more awareness to how it can affect people day to day, since her heartbreaking Instagram post in June last year.
The 2000 Wimbledon semi-finalist pleaded with her Instagram followers to seek professional help if they were experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts.
“I almost took my own life,” she started.
“Will never forget the day. Everything is blurry. Everything is dark. No tone, no picture, nothing makes sense … just tears, sadness, depression, anxiety and pain.
“The last six months have been tough. It’s been constant crying everywhere. From hiding in the bathroom when at work to wipe away my tears so that nobody sees it to the unstoppable crying at home within my four walls has been unbearable.”
During the Australian Open, Dokic called out “disgusting” abusive trolling that she had received on social media, calling it a “new low”.
“Now that the Australian Open is starting, will Jelena Dokic try to kill herself like she does every year,” a commenter wrote to her in Serbian, with a laughing emoji.
A new low and this actually made me cry this morning when I woke up and read it,” she wrote on Instagram in reply.
“Just when you think online abuse and trolling can’t get any worse. Almost 1 million people commit suicide in the world every year.
“That’s scary and so sad and then people like this disgusting person and a few others out there make fun of it!? How disgusting. They should (be) ashamed of themselves.”
Dokic later appeared on ABC program Q&A in February on a panel focusing on online abuse to discuss the issue, with emotional scenes as she discussed the extent of her own trolling.