When Kate Fagan was a college basketball player at the University of Colorado in the late '90s, there weren't a lot of resources for dealing with anxiety and depression. While Kate wouldn't classify herself as severely depressed, she was dealing with her own internal struggles. "I had a lot of anxiety about my sport, but it never tipped into self-harm," she explains. "I had always played basketball and thought it was fun, but this pressure-cooker environment is where I first struggled with anxiety and where I first started to question whether I was doing stuff I was passionate about or whether I was doing things for how other people would perceive me."
Kate's anxiety ran deeper than that. Deep down, she knew she was attracted to women, but the aforementioned "pressure cooker environment" wasn't exactly a safe space where she could open up about it. "College was when I first told myself that I was gay and allowed myself to recognize that as my truth," she says. "All the things I thought in high school that I would push away, that was the first time I allowed myself to say, yeah, I’m gay. But nobody talked about it. The go-to was to tell your very close circle and then at every other point in your life just pretend you're asexual."
Fifteen years later, Kate has a successful career as a journalist at ESPN, and her new book What Made Maddy Run topped best-seller lists within the first week. She's come a long way since her college days, and now her mission is to keep the conversation going surrounding mental illness on college campuses—and especially among college athletes.