After losing his last two fights, Juan Adams reached out for help to get his career back on track.
"Anytime I go through something hard in life, I go see a therapist," Adams told theScore. "We work through it. Sometimes it takes a long time, this time it took two-to-three weeks getting back to the right mindset. And that's what I've been doing man just been a lot of personal development."
The 28-year-old revealed he's been working with a therapist on and off for the last seven years.
"It started when I was very young," Adams said. "When I was in school, I first got diagnosed with ADD (attention-deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). They sent me (to a therapist) because I just stopped caring about school. Once I learned how to control that, I stopped going. I had to go again in high school because I was getting into a lot of fights."
"My junior year in college I was getting into it with my teammates a lot," he continued. "There were a lot of arguments, a lot of testosterone in those rooms. Me, you know, I don't have many in-betweens. It’s like 'one, two, three, ok we're going.'
"So I've been working with a therapist since then. This one I started going to right when my mom died, off and on. I'll get good for a little while, a few months and then I will go back and just check-in."
Fighters don't often open up about their personal struggles while competing in a masculine sport like mixed martial arts. Adams wants to change that stigma by sharing his battles with anxiety and depression.
"So many people suffer from this, men especially," he said. "It’s stigmatized in our society quite a bit. Anything that's going to keep you on this earth longer, I advise you to do it.
"So that's why I'm open about it. When I was a kid, the reason I was so reluctant to go for it (was) because I viewed it as weakness. Once I became more secure in who I was, I was like, I'm going to be (the) person that I needed when I was younger."
Fans have become inspired, and Adams has taken on a mentor role. The Contender Series winner mainly wants to prove there's no shame in enduring mental struggles.
"I don't check my DM requests often, but when I do there's always one or two people that are just saying how much it’s helped them," he said. "My Instagram story I’m pretty open about my struggles with anxiety when I'm going through depressive bouts. I'll do it for everyone to see and then you know, they can see in two or three days I'm usually over and I'm good again. It's not something that you have to be defined by."
Adams is scheduled to face Justin Tafa at UFC 247 on Feb. 8 in Houston.