Andrelton Simmons opens up about depression and suicidal thoughts – Orange County Register


As millions of people continue to struggle mentally and emotionally with the toll from the coronavirus pandemic, Andrelton Simmons has decided it is time to tell his story.

Simmons revealed on Tuesday that he decided to retire from the final week of Angels’ season last September due to depression and even suicidal thoughts, which had haunted him since he was young.

“It was difficult for me mentally to know where the idea of ​​suicide was crossing my mind,” Simmons wrote to the Southern California News Group. “It’s something I swore a long time ago that I would never consider again.” I was fortunate enough to speak to a therapist, which helped me let go of these thoughts. At the end of the day, with a lot of people still going through what most might consider difficult times, the thought of ending the season in a bubble was too much for me to handle.

Simmons wrote that recent suicidal thoughts never turned into actions and he chose not to explain how those feelings manifested when he was younger.

“Most people have scars that others cannot see or understand,” he wrote.

Simmons expressed his feelings in a DM series on Twitter, saying he was more comfortable writing his story than verbalizing it because “it’s still hard to articulate certain things or be open.”

On Sunday, the Minnesota Twins held a Zoom pitch call with Simmons, who had finalized a one-year, $ 10.5 million contract. During that session, which was the first time Simmons has spoken to the media since the end of Angels’ Season, he declined to explain why he decided to step down.

Two days later, Simmons reached out to a reporter and told him he thought it was time to tell the story.

“Now that more and more people are struggling with depression, anxiety and suicide, I felt maybe it was time to share a little bit of my story,” he said. written. “I was afraid people would judge and people would twist my story.”

Simmons becomes the latest top professional athlete to go public with his struggles with depression, joining a roster that includes Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and swimmer Michael Phelps.

ESPN published an article on Tuesday in which San Francisco Giants outfielder Drew Robinson explained how he attempted to kill himself in April.

“There are a lot of people who go through stressful times,” Simmons wrote. “For different kinds of reasons. Which brings a lot of fear or anxiety. And I know there is the fear of asking for help / assistance because of the perception of people who think there is something wrong with you, but I think in reality there is has a lot more people than you think going through stressful things, which can be different. means: fear, loss, trauma, problems with loved ones. You’re not alone. You don’t have to keep everything bottled. Find someone who can help you express your emotions freely and who can help you do so. ”

The more people like Simmons tell their stories, the more help others can find, according to Dr. John Ogrodniczuk, director of the psychotherapy program at the University of British Columbia.

“We hold the athletes high on a pedestal,” said Ogrodniczuk. “Rightly or wrongly, they’re seen as role models for many people in society and they have a public platform that a lot of others don’t. What they do, what they say can have a big effect on other people in general.

“When an athlete says, ‘I have depression and it affects my life,’ the right thing to do, the brave thing, is share. Let people know if you are having difficulty and need a helping hand. ”

Ogrodniczuk started Heads Up Guys, an organization that educates and supports men with depression.

Simmons certainly didn’t seek to be a role model in any sort of campaign.

A 31-year-old Curaçao native, Simmons played nine years in the big leagues, making a name for himself by winning four Golden Gloves and making a name for himself as one of the best defensive shorts in the world. history.

His fifth season with the Angels, in 2020, was like none of the others.

The players were sequestered in their hotels on the road and they were constantly tested at the baseball stadium for COVID-19, all in an effort to get through the shortened 60-game season without a virus outbreak.

All players had a choice to opt out at any time if they felt uncomfortable for whatever reason. Top players like Dodgers pitcher David Price, New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman and Giants wide receiver Buster Posey have all decided to step down before the start of the season.

Simmons played. Throughout the season, however, he couldn’t forget what was going on in the world outside of the baseball bubble.

“The first time was while driving through Oakland and seeing some of the stores and restaurants trying to stay open with all the homeless camping outside,” he said. “This is where it really hit me.

Simmons said he started talking to a therapist to help him get over his feelings, but eventually they turned out too.

On September 22, the Angels announced that Simmons had retired from the last five games of the regular season. Simmons released a statement saying only that he decided it was the best decision for him and his family. The angels provided little other information and mostly expressed their surprise at his decision.

The news came as the Angels entered a bubble for the final week of the regular season. Because they were mathematically alive for the playoffs, the Angels and all other potential playoff teams were subjected to a higher quarantine level during the final week of the regular season. The idea was to reduce the risk of the virus interfering with the playoffs.

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