Khan Porter is one of the top CrossFit athletes in not just Australia, but also the world. Porter has made it to the CrossFit Games the past three years with his best finish coming in 2014, 27th place.
From the outside, a fan sees Porter hitting PRs and dancing before lifts. But on the inside, Porter has suffered from a anxiety and bipolar disorders. This has made it very difficult for Porter to compete at the highest level. While medications help his condition, they hinder his performance so he elects to not take them during the CrossFit season.
In his Instagram post sharing this struggle, Porter said he questioned competing after the Open this year. But while putting himself through the stress of competing at Regionals and the Games is difficult, he won’t let his condition dictate his life. So Porter has accepted his invite to compete at the Pacific Regional in hopes that it will help others who also suffer from the same thing.
#RealTalk I don’t enjoy competing. I don’t mind it physically, I like the outcome and sense of achievement I get from it, but the process is a nightmare for me. I suffer severely from anxiety disorder. I’ve been diagnosed with both it and bipolar and these things combined with the pressure (which probably only exists in my anxious mind) make the process of preparing to compete torturous at times. Instagram is a highlight reel of an athlete’s journey. What goes on for me between PR posts and #AlwaysTryNewBeers is manic episodes, panic attacks, sleepless nights, breakdowns, days I can’t even get out of bed let alone into the gym, wild mood swings and worst of all is the constant anxious voice in my head which plays on loop, telling me all the worst possible outcomes for everything I do and all the reasons I’m not good enough and shouldn’t compete. Unfortunately the medications I’ve tried mess with my energy levels and so I don’t take them during the season. Towards the end of the open I began to question if I wanted to endure another year of this and if so why? I have a thriving business, am enjoying my studies immensely and have made the Games three times now. Competing again will likely have no effect on my life for better or worse and takes considerable time away from my work, study and social life. So why put myself through the process? The answer seems pretty clear cut, don’t. However despite trying to talk myself out of it I can’t muster up the courage to pull out and have spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure out why. Then it struck me. For me competing is one way of telling that anxious voice in my head that it doesn’t have complete control over me or my life just yet and win or lose that’s a massive victory to me every year I take the regionals floor. By facing my own demons maybe one day I’ll better be able to help others face theirs, which is exactly why I chose to go back at school and study psychology. So this year when I compete I am competing for anyone, anywhere who shares the same voices in their head as I do. That tells them over and over all the reasons – rational or irrational – that they can’t, shouldn’t, won’t or aren’t good enough.
Porter finished 4th in the Australia region in the Open this year and will compete at the Pacific Regional May 26-28 in an attempt to make it back to the CrossFit Games for the 4th straight year.