It's been awhile since my last post and I've
been receiving lots of interest in getting
something out. I'm always one for giving the
people what they want so here you go. Except
this post wasn't written by me. And the next
couple of posts won't be written by me. I've
asked a few friends from the wonderful world of
Women's Basketball to help me out.
I've been rocked by the recent suicides that
have stunned our profession and it created
wonderful dialogue with some of my peers. We
agree that the stigma of depression in
athletics, particularly with women, where we try
so hard to prove our toughness so as not to be
perceived as, well, weak, is killing us.
During this dialogue, what I've discovered is at
some point in our lives, we have, or someone
close to us, has struggled with depression and
we have all felt ill equipped to handle it alone.
We all have very different, but similar stories,
and we all would like to share those stories
with the hope that they might resonate with
I am honored that my peers would agree to use my
personal website as an outlet for their voices.
In orchestrating this vehicle, I accept that I
might turn some people off. However, my goal in
life is to be consistent and authentic. And in
living a consistently authentic life, I'm going
to turn a lot of people off. And that's fine. I'm not for everyone. And neither is this
website. But for those of you that I am for,
here you go.
Dare I say the word depression?
by Lindsey Werntz, Tulane Women's Basketball
Dare I say the word depression? It is a word
that is tainted. It is a word that means you are
weak. It is a word that means you are an
outcast. It is a word that only underachievers
use. Right? Well for me that is not the case.
Depression is a word that needs to be explored
and talked about. Depression is a word that does
not mean you are weak, but possibly lonely.
Depression is a word that means you are like
more of your some of peers than you could ever
imagine. Depression is a word that many
successful people have been ignoring or evading,
possibly from fear of losing a job. I have been
in college athletics as a professional for
eleven seasons. I know first hand what
depression is, because it was and still is a
part of my life. The time is now to talk about
the word DEPRESSION.
Every day I woke up not knowing how I would
feel. I did not know if I would be my worst
enemy. I did not know if I would remember what
happened that day because of the fog that
enveloped me. Every day I would look in the
mirror and say, "you are a coach, you have to
toughen up." That is what I was taught for so
many years. I was told that depression was for
the weak. I was told that not everyone could
handle working at the Division I level and that
it wasn't depression, but a lack of being tough.
Every day I looked at the bottle of meds
prescribed to me and wondered if I should just
take them all at once.
Putting the word depression into perspective for
me came during a dark time in my life. I was
battling internal demons. I was going through
change. I did not let anyone in on any level
more than a surface relationship. I was finding
comfort in alcohol because I thought it was my
only loyal friend. It kept my secrets and numbed
my pain. I was scared to ask for help. I was
scared what my peers would think of me. I did
not know if I would have a job. Who was I
The realities of depression needs to be talked
about. There needs to be a dialogue. There are
too many people in this world that do not feel
they can talk about depression. I did not feel
like I had an outlet. I kept everything to
myself, yet I was my own worst enemy. I was not
giving myself good advice. When I finally asked
for help it was from people that did not
understand what I was going through. It seemed
as though they did not want to be bothered. They
were not empathetic. Bury yourself into your
work. It will go away. It did not go away for
Each day I put one shoe on at a time. I got into
my car and I drove to therapy. I made a choice
to get help from professionals. I made a choice
to make people listen to me because my life did
matter. Maybe not to you, but with time it
mattered to me. I learned that my life was
valuable. I learned that my time on earth was
not maxed out yet. I learned that to feel again
was to live again.
Someone loves you. You do not feel that when you
are depressed. The one person you want to love
you more than anyone else is yourself. The one
honest relationship you want to have is with
yourself. The one person that you want to please
is yourself. Some of us need help realizing how
to love ourselves, how to please ourselves, and
how to have a healthy relationship with
ourselves. It is okay to ask for help.
Silence is not the answer. Parents, get to know
your children. Get the phones out of their hands
at dinner and ask them how was their day.
Understand that if your child has a mental
health issue, you are not at fault. With love
and understanding you can help your child
through anything. They are scared. They are
lonely. They need you. Coaches, administrators,
support staff, and teammates, please be
empathetic. To learn about depression and other
mental health issues makes you a warrior and an
advocate for someone that you love that could
take their life simply because they felt like no
one would listen to their cries for help.
Athletic departments stop hiding behind the
curtain because you don't want to look like your
players have "issues". The reality is,
college-aged athletes do have "issues" but you
have a chance to stand tall and be heard. Be an
athletic department that welcomes ALL athletes
and ALL employees who need a safe place to
I am a survivor of a suicide attempt. I am here
to live and to talk about it. I am here to let
you know that if you are going through
something, there are others out there like you.
I am here to tell you that it does get better.
One day at a time. I am a walking example of how
one day at a time it DOES get better. You are
not alone. You can get through this. And you can
live a life of happiness. One day at a time I
will vow to tell my story to anyone that will
listen because one more loss is one too many.
One day at a time I will continue to give praise
because I am still on this earth. One day at a
time I will attempt to start a dialogue about
the word depression. No longer will I keep it to
Now that the dialogue surrounding depression has
been opened, it is time to continue to discuss
it. It is time to be empathetic towards those
suffering from demons that you will never
understand. It is time to ask tough questions
and be supportive towards one another. It is
time to stop lives from unnecessarily being lost
because of depression.
I am currently in a healthy relationship where
we talk about our feelings. I have a wonderful
job where I get to make a difference with
student athletes and peers. I am healthy. I am
happy. I am alive. And I choose to talk to you
about depression because no one talked to me
about depression. It is time to get educated
about issues that you might be uncomfortable
discussing. It is time to stand up and work
towards a positive change.