Former NBA player Ben Gordon submitted an essay to The Players Tribune. In that essay he details the struggles he has with mental health. He also speaks to a failed suicide attempt.
In 2004 Gordon made himself eligible for the NBA draft after winning a national championship with the University of Connecticut. He was picked by the Chicago Bulls.
In 2005 Gordon won Sixth Man of the year as a rookie. His NBA career ended with the Charlotte Bobcats in 2017.
“There was a point in time where I thought about killing myself every single day for about six weeks.” Gordon wrote
He shared that in the season right after his last year in the league he would start having panic attacks.
Gordon details the feelings of despair and loss of identity he was plagued with daily. He shared that he felt as though he was in purgatory. Describing the feeling like a black cloak suffocating his soul.
When it became unbearable Gordon took matters into his own hands. “I took one of those heavyweight jump ropes — the thick rubber ones — and I tied it around my neck. Got a chair. And I hung myself, for real.” Gordon wrote.
He did not die in the attempt because in the midst of it he recognized that he wanted to live.
Gordon admits that this illness has been with him since he was a child. He was left wondering who created God since God created everything. He shared that it was a loop going on in his mind.
Gordon has since gone to therapy and appreciates being able to share his thoughts.
“It helped me work some things out. But more than anything, I think it helped me embrace the fact that — it’s like, Yo, B, you’re different. And that’s alright.” wrote Gordon
According to The National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities Among men aged 18–44 who had daily feelings of anxiety or depression, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic men (26.4 percent) were less likely than non-Hispanic White men (45.4 percent) to have used mental health treatments.
The NIH also report that suicide is the third leading cause of death for African American males ages 15 to 24.
The national suicide hotline website is below.
For help with mental illness go to nami.org
Stream “Speak Life” by Precise