Posted in Depression
Joseph Brennen Barksdale, an American football player serving as the offensive tackle for the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL), has battled depression for most of his life. Though he seemed happy to his teammates, Barksdale had become an expert in hiding his depression. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the 29-year-old footballer confessed to suffering from severe depression that nearly took his life. Now on medication and therapy, it was only after being confronted with suicidal thoughts that Barksdale decided to open up about his struggle with depression and help remove the stigma surrounding the mental illness.
Depression does not discriminate between people and can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender or social standing. Mood disorders like depression affect a significant percentage of the American population. According to the latest statistics available, around 44.7 million adults aged 18 and above were suffering from mental illness in 2015.
Candid confessions related to depression
According to the footballer, the main reason behind his severe depression was the traumatic experience of physical, emotional and sexual abuse as a child. A childhood that was filled with anxieties and insecurities, older kids in the city often picked on him due to his size. While the footballer lived with depression through most of his life, the moment of crisis came in November last year when he learned that he would miss his third straight game after injuring his foot. Overcome by his situation, Barksdale went home and sharpened his knife and was about to take his life when his wife, Brionna, convinced him to put it down. Though the crisis was averted, Barksdale decided to share his story.
Wh ile his teammates were “very supportive” initially, he soon realized that even the NFL was plagued like the outside world by the stigma attached to mental disorders. Though his teammates told him “not to worry,” they also assured him that the news of his illness would remain only with them. Initially confided to a handful of teammates, Barksdale now wants to share his story with the world to make a difference and remove the discriminatory approach toward psychiatric disorders. The footballer hopes that others too will join him in spreading awareness about such disorders.
Addressing mental health issues in NFL
Although the NFL has a number of programs to help players and their families deal with mental disorders, one of the biggest challenges that the league faces is to get the players talk about their illness. Though Barksdale tried the NFL Life Line, a 24-hour crisis hotline available to players and their families, it did not work for him. As a result, he continued to feel fear, shame, guilt and anxiety. While the feeling of sadness and hopelessness refused to go away, he decided to use music as an outlet. Soon, he knew that he could vent out his negative thoughts and feelings through words and music. After four years of learning to play the guitar, Barksdale released his debut album, “Butterflies, Rainbows & Moonbeams.”
Reach out and ask for help
A leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide, approximately 16.2 million American adults suffer from at least one major depressive episode. Despite being a serious condition, it is treatable using a range of medications and therapies. The treatment of major depression may combine antidepressant medication, psychotherapy and other forms of therapies like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in severe cases.
If you are depressed or know someone who is battling depression, it’s time to seek the services of a professional treatment facility. At the Depression Treatment Centers of California, we are committed to helping you or your loved ones to identify the symptoms of mental illness and connect to the best treatment facilities for depression in California.
You are not alone in your struggle. All it takes to overcome depression is to reach out to loved ones and ask for help. Call at our 24/7 helpline 855-678-0400 or chat online with an expert to locate some of the reputed depression treatment centers in California.