Depression and Anxiety: How it affects DeRozan and others

Anxiety and depression disorders are two of the most common mental illnesses in America. Anxiety disorders affect nearly 17 percent of America’s population while depression affects nearly 7 percent. It’s also very common for those that suffer from one, to suffer from the other as well.
What may not be clear to you is that NBA players aren’t exempt from these conditions. While many think professional athletes are mythical creatures whose lives revolve around their profession, the reality is that they are real people, with real problems just like you and me.
It turns out Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan suffers from both. In an interview with Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, DeRozan confirmed this.
“It’s one of them things that no matter how indestructible we look like we are, we’re all human at the end of the day.,” said DeRozan. “We all got feelings…all of that. Sometimes…it gets the best of you, where times everything in the whole world is on top of you.”
This isn’t necessarily a new development but it’s the first time DeRozan openly spoke out on the topic. Looking back at a Feb. 17 tweet that read, “This depression got the best of me.” Quoting a line from the Kevin Gates song “Tomorrow.”
“I’ve always been like this since I was young, but I think that’s where my demeanor comes from,” said DeRozan. “I’m so quiet if you don’t know me. I stay standoffish in a sense, in my own personal space, to be able to cope with whatever it is you’ve got to cope with.”
Most that suffer from anxiety and depression have some outlet to take their minds off things. In DeRozan’s case, it’s basketball that helped guide him through the rough patches. DeRozan attributes his rough, Compton, CA upbringing to him abstaining from drugs and alcohol, in order for him to be a better father to his two daughters.
The Toronto All-Star averages 23.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds this season and his team leads the Eastern Conference.
What people don’t realize is that depression and anxiety is nothing you can control and DeRozan is not the only professional athlete that suffers from it. He’s just one of the few that spoke out and admitted to it.
Just because athletes like DeRozan have superhuman-like talents on the playing field or court, doesn’t mean they aren’t human and don’t suffer from the same conditions as the average person. Which is the exact reason why everyone should be treated equally, despite their status or circumstance.
“I had friends that I thought was perfectly fine, next thing you know they’re a drug addict and can’t remember yesterday. I’ve never had a drink in my life because I grew up seeing so many people drinking their life away to suppress the troubles they were going through, you know what I mean?”

DeRozan’s mother always told DeMar “you never know what another person is going through.” And that’s why he doesn’t judge others to this day.

A few facts about depression:

  • It’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

2 thoughts on “Depression and Anxiety: How it affects DeRozan and others

  1. Great column pointing out the humanistic aspect of even great basketball players. Thanks for taking time to shed light on very real, day-to-day account of A PERSON….not just a basketball star celebrated.

    1. Great story!! I’m glad you brought that to the forefront. Mental illness does not discriminate!!! Well done. And you know how much I care about sports. Meh. I read because it’s written by one of my favorite people

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