Los Angeles Clippers star John Wall has written candidly about his mental health struggles. in one piece published in the Players’ Tribune on Thursday.
In the column, titled “I’m still here,” the 32-year-old said his struggles began in early 2019, when he fractured his Achilles tendon while a member of the Washington Wizards, the team that drafted him No. 1. in general. in 2010. Wall said he suffered “such a bad infection from the surgeries that I almost had to amputate my foot.”
“In 2017, I’m jumping on the announcer’s table in DC after forcing Game 7 against Boston, and I’m king of the city,” Wall wrote. “I’m getting a max extension, thinking I’m a wizard for life. A year later, I tore my Achilles tendon and lost the only sanctuary I’ve ever known: the game of basketball.”
Wall said chronic injuries, coupled with the death of his “best friend in the whole world”, his mother, Frances Ann Pulley, a year later sent him to “a really dark place”.
In December 2020, the Wizards traded the five-time NBA All-Star, who was still recovering from his torn Achilles tendon, to the Houston Rockets, in exchange for Russell Westbrook.
Wall said that outwardly “you would never have thought anything was wrong. I wasn’t saying anything to my circle, not even to my right hand. I was partying a lot, trying to mask all the pain.”
“But when everyone goes home at the end of the night and your head hits that pillow? There is no forgetting. There are no more masks,” she wrote.
Wall said it was ultimately “my children’s love” that motivated him to keep going. And eventually he confided in a friend that, “Me! I need some f—— help!”
He began meeting with a therapist, “and little by little things changed.”
“I still talk to my therapist to this day, and I’m still unpacking a lot of the crazy stuff I’ve been through,” Wall explained. “I’m never going to stop doing it, because I really don’t know when the darkness might return. Right now though? I feel better than I have in years. I feel like I’m breathing fresh air again. I feel a sense of peace”.
Wall reached a waiver with the Rockets last summer and subsequently signed a deal to join the Clippers.
“I can wake up in the morning and do what I love to do: play basketball for a living, be a good father to my children, and carry on the legacy and light of Frances Ann Pulley,” he wrote.
Earlier this week, the US Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of health experts, proposed depression screening for all adults,. The screenings, according to the panel, are designed to identify early signs of anxiety and depression in Americans who may not show symptoms.
If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For more information about mental health care resources and support, you can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. nami.org.