“It was like she was standing right next to me,” Wall recalled in a powerful and moving essay for the Players’ Tribune that was published Thursday. “She looked me in the eye and said, ‘You have to continue for your children. You have much more to do on this earth. ”
Wall considered the dream a “sign from God”. As his world crumbled around him, he finally confided in a friend that he needed help and began seeing a therapist. It saved his life.
Wall, who signed a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Clippers in July, first opened up about his mental health during a one-on-one interview at a charity event last month.
“Darkest place I’ve ever been,” Wall said in response to a question about what the past two and a half years have been like for him. “At one point, I thought about killing myself. There was a time when I had to go find a therapist. Many people think, “I don’t need help. I can get out anytime. But you have to be true to yourself and find what’s best for you, and that’s what I did.
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Wall expanded on those comments in the Players’ Tribune essay, detailing the confluence of events that made him feel like suicide – which he acknowledges is virtually a taboo word in the community he grew up in. – was “the only option.”
The five-time star player suffered an Achilles injury in February 2019 that forced him to miss the entire 2019-20 season and cost him “the only sanctuary” he has ever known. His mother, Frances Ann Pulley, died 10 months later. Wall recalls calling his mother “six or seven times a day just to hear her voicemail” in the days that followed.
“My best friend is gone,” he wrote of his mother. “I can’t play the game I love. Everyone just reached out. Nobody looks at me for me. It always comes with something attached. Who’s there to hold me now? What’s the point of being here?
On top of all that, Wall became the subject of trade rumors. He was eventually dealt by the Wizards, who selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, to the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook in December 2020.
“The franchise I had sacrificed my blood, sweat and tears for for 10 years decided it wanted to move on,” Wall writes. “I was devastated, I’m not going to lie. That’s when I started debating – literally debating – if I wanted to continue, almost every night.
Wall said he tried to soothe his pain by partying, but his dark thoughts returned when the party stopped and his friends went home, and one night he “came as close as possible to make an unfortunate decision and leave this earth.”
Wall said the therapy “slowly changed things” for him. He continues to see a therapist and has found a sense of peace and meaning in being a good father to his two young sons and carrying on his mother’s legacy. Wall hopes his story will serve as a lesson to others who might be hesitant to ask for help, as he has been for so long.
“I was supposed to be the man of the house at nine,” writes Wall, whose father died of liver cancer. “So my whole mentality, regardless of the situation, has always been, ‘I don’t need anybody’s help. I will do it by myself. I’ve been through everything else, so why not this? Being a product of your environment is not a bad thing. But I think it’s a blessing and a curse. Being a dog, being unbreakable, always having that chip on your shoulder – hey, I get it. I was that guy. But the day will come when you can no longer do it yourself. And you have to be strong enough that day to ask for help.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call or text Suicide & Crisis Lifeline on 988. You can also text a crisis counselor by texting 741741.
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