John Wall describes mental health issues in a Players’ Tribune essay

John Wall credited a dream visit to his mother after she died of breast cancer in December 2019 as what prompted the former Washington Wizards star to seek therapy as he contemplated taking his own life in the coming months. He hopes that sharing his story will encourage others struggling with depression to be strong enough to ask for help.

“It was like she was standing right next to me,” Wall recalled in a powerful and soul-baring essay for the Players’ Tribune published Thursday. “She looked me in the eye and said, ‘You have to go on for your kids. There is more to do on this earth.”

Wall considers the dream a “sign from God.” With his world crashing down around him, he finally confided in a friend that he needed help and started seeing a therapist. It saved his life.

Wall, who signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers in July, first opened up about his mental health in a one-on-one interview at a charity event last month.

“The darkest place I’ve ever been,” Wall said when asked how the past 2 1/2 years have been for him. “I mean, at one point I thought about killing myself. There was a point where I had to find a therapist. Many people think, “I don’t need help. I can get over it anytime. But you have to be true to yourself and figure out what’s best for you, and I did.

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Wall expanded on those comments in the Players’ Tribune essay, describing in great detail the set of life events that made him feel as if suicide — which he admits was practically a taboo word in the community he grew up in — was “ the only option.”

The five-time NBA All-Star suffered an Achilles injury in February 2019 that forced him to miss the entire 2019-20 season and cost him the “only sanctuary” he’s ever known. His mother, Frances Ann Pulley, died 10 months later. Wall recalls calling his mother “six or seven times a day just to hear her voicemail” in the days that followed.

“My best friend is gone,” he wrote of his mother. “I can’t play the game I love. Everyone just held out their hands. No one checks me for I. It always comes with something attached. Who’s there to hold me back now? What’s the point of me being here?’

On top of that, Wall became the subject of trade rumors. He was eventually dealt by the Wizards, who selected him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, to the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook in December 2020.

“The franchise I had sacrificed my blood, sweat and tears to represent for 10 years decided it wanted to move on,” Wall wrote. “I was devastated, I’m not going to lie. Then I started debating – literally debating – whether I wanted to continue, almost every night.”

Wall said he tried to numb his pain by partying, but his dark thoughts would return when the partying stopped and his friends went home, and one night he “came as close as I could to making an unfortunate decision and leaving on this earth. “

Wall said the therapy “slowly turned things around” for him. He continues to see a therapist and has found a sense of peace and purpose in being a good father to his two young sons and carrying on his mother’s legacy. Wall hopes his story is a lesson to others who may be hesitant to seek help, as he was for so long.

“I had to be the man of the house at nine years old,” wrote Wall, whose father died of liver cancer. “So my whole mentality, no matter the situation, was always, ‘I don’t need anybody’s help. I’ll figure it out. I suffered everything else, so why not this?”Being a product of your environment is not a bad thing. But I think it’s a blessing and a curse. Being a dog, being unbreakable, always having that chip on your shoulder – hey, I get it. I have been that person. But there will come a day when you can’t do it alone. And you have to be strong enough on that day to ask for help.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text a crisis counselor by texting the crisis text line to 741741.

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