Lindsey Finley shares her personal mental health story at AMES EXHIBITION

Lindsey Finley He seems to have it all.

She is loved as a former basketball player at Iowa State University. She is a successful businesswoman. She is the mother of two cute children. She is married to Iowa State basketball assistant coach Billy Finley, with whom she has been with since 2003 when she was a sophomore “quietly dating coach’s son.”

However, Lindsey Finley will be speaking on another topic on Tuesday as a keynote speaker at Story County Mental Health Fair. The free event will take place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Memorial Union in Iowa.

Finley will talk about her mental health journey at 7:30 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session.

“I was first diagnosed with mental illness in 2013,” she told the Ames Tribune.

When she got this diagnosis, she had thousands of LinkedIn contacts, Twitter followers, and Facebook friends. “The last thing I would ever think of was telling anyone I just had a 15-day behavioral stay at Mary Greeley,” Finley said.

She said she threw it under the rug, and planned to get a better sleep. Didn’t want to take medicine. She didn’t think she needed treatment.

Finley said she has mistakenly associated mental illness with negative things you might see in the news, such as a psychopathic gunman or a suicidal person.

“I feel like the happiest mentally ill person I know,” she said. “So I didn’t want to get that label.” “I realized I had a platform, but honestly my self was like, ‘I’m not going to tell anyone that there’s anything wrong with me.'”

more: Former Iowa star Lindsey Finley has become a public advocate for mental health awareness

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Five years passed. She and Bailey had two children. They built the business together.

They were on the train of success.

“People who look outside should be like, ‘She has it all together,'” she said.

In 2018, everyone broke up, and Vinelli ended up in the hospital for the second time, for 21 days.

“I had this pulse that if I was going to talk about it, maybe it would help someone else. In the end, it would also help me because I had to take medication this time, or otherwise. This time, I had to go to therapy every two weeks, or whatever. .

“What was this or that?” I didn’t know, but I didn’t want to go there with my family. Like, would Billy have left me if I didn’t take it seriously this time? “

About a week after Finlay was discharged from her three-week hospital stay, she decided to call another Iowa basketball star, George Niang.

“George and I run a golf picnic and camp together, and we keep in touch a lot, especially in the spring,” she said.

Vinelli was without her phone during her hospital stay, so he asked her what was going on.

“That’s when I started to break down a little bit. I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve been hospitalized with a mental health condition,'” she said.

There was silence for a few seconds – it seemed like a long time. Fennelly thought it was over. He wouldn’t be interested in continuing their camp and golf event.

But then Niang said what Vinelli needed to hear: “That’s why she sends me these crazy emails at 2 AM.”

“He totally normalized it. At that moment I remember thinking that if George was willing to keep seeing me as who I am and partner with me in this event and have my back – I’d tell anyone,” she said. “This was the strength of his response.”

Finley was embarrassed by her diagnosis for years. She never embraced him.

But his response gave me the strength to be like, ‘Let’s go,’ she said.

Two weeks later, Finlay posted unofficially about his hospitalization with mental illness. Over the past four years, she has spoken to numerous audiences, both physically and personally, and provided a “basic storytelling” of her situation.

“It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to admit you’re not perfect. It’s okay to take medications and talk to a therapist. It’s not a sign of weakness,” she said.

Lindsey Finley finds she can’t train herself to get out of mental illness

Living in the world of athletics, it was hard for Fennelly to accept that she couldn’t train herself to come out of her illness.

Fennelly has shared her story with more than 13,000 people since becoming a mental health advocate. her website Connect it to schools and other organizations.

“From the outside looking inside, it just didn’t make sense to people, and I think that’s where people grabbed my story. Like, ‘If Lindsey can struggle, maybe we can talk about what I’m struggling with as well,” she said. “I don’t want it to look That’s pomp, because I don’t think I’m more special than the next person. But I realize that a lot of people know my family name. A lot of people know I played basketball here.”

Finley herself was inspired by the story of someone who seemed to have it all. She was not a famous sports figure – it was pop singer Mariah Carey.

Published in April 2018, while Fennelly was in the hospital, People magazine published a story about Carrie’s coming out of her mental illness.

“That’s what flipped the switch for me,” Finley said. “I didn’t want to embrace my problems and then run and hide.”

Fennelly’s passion for sharing her story with other people who may need encouragement to engage with their story will be part of her keynote address at the Story County exhibit.

More than 20 community and university resource providers will have kiosks providing information about the services they provide.

The free event will offer door prizes, snacks, a scavenger hunt, and free parking at the Memorial Union parking ramp.

Rona Faborg covers the business and arts of the Ames Tribune. You can reach her at

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