‘Depression, It’s Exhausting’: Kevin Love Opens Up About Mental Battles, ‘Suicidal Thoughts’ He Faces
Love encourages everyone experiencing anxiety symptoms, depression, or suicidal thoughts that you’re not alone.
It’s perfectly okay to get help and acknowledge what you’re going through mentally in order to get better and heal from it.
In September, he penned an encouraging open letter through The Players’ Tribune titled “To Anybody Going Through It”.
“Battling depression, battling anxiety, battling any mental health disorder … it’s all just so unbelievably exhausting. That’s been on my mind a lot lately, considering the millions and millions of people around the world who have lost their jobs, or lost their loved ones, or who are just dealing with the unprecedented anxieties of being a human in 2020. I know so many people out there are suffering right now. I’m no different. I’m still going through it. Even after all the work I’ve tried to do on myself over the last two-and-a-half years, some days are just brutal.”Kevin Love, The Players’ Tribune
Love was also recently a guest on In Depth With Graham Bensinger where he opened up on how he’s been battling with suicidal thoughts and depression, talking about one of his darkest moments of his life when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Depression, it’s exhausting,” Love said to In Depth With Graham Bensinger. “I just want to lock myself in a dark room and never come out and there were times I’d only come out to either eat, to play basketball to go to work, and that was just kind of my outlet, my safe space. So when that’s taken away from me, it’s even more exhausting.”
Love talked to Bensinger about that season with the Timberwolves when he was injured.
“That crutch of basketball was everything to me, that was my safe space,” Love said. “Listen, I love basketball. It’s what I do, it’s not who I am and that’s something I really had to face and learn. When I had an injury, it was really tough for me to comprehend or really understand what I was going to do with myself.”
Love talked about that season of being injured was a really dark point in his life.
“(It’s) tough to revisit but this went on for months because I played 18 games and had no real healthy way of not only expressing myself but just to bring myself out of it,” Love said. “Because you self-medicate, you drink, you treat your body terribly, you eat terribly, and you just do pretty much everything to harm or hurt yourself. When you get to that point and it’s day after day being the same, you come to a point where the darkest moments come into play and suicidal thoughts come into play. You start planning it out and what would be the route you would take and yeah, those are really scary moments of my life.”Kevin Love on In Depth With Graham Bensinger
Love said the good thing that happens is when you search it, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline comes up. What also helped him is having a good group of friends to be there for him.
“Honestly, part of it was because of my relationship with basketball, part of that saved me just getting healthy,” Love said. “But I think it was just knowing that I’ve been so fortunate and so amazingly blessed to have a group of friends that truly want nothing else than to just be there for me and have this relationship.”
It’s important to be honest with yourself and others on whatever you’re going through in order to get better, even though it might be the most difficult thing to do. The road to recovery involves taking just a small step forward.
According to Anxiety And Depression Association Of America, anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
Love said that those scars are there but not fully healed and that this has made him a better listener and more empathetic.
The Cavs forward said when you don’t face certain fears, anxieties, or depression head on, it puts you farther back, you self-medicate, then it’s a slippery slope.
“I’ve learned to speak my truth, honestly,” Love said. “I’ve learned that nothing haunts us like the things we don’t say so me keeping that in is actually more harmful. So I think that’s been the biggest and most helpful thing for me is exposing it, understanding that it is going to make me vulnerable and maybe put me in a spot where, for most people, it could be tough. But I know that there’s a whole group and strength in numbers out there of people that are dealing with it.”
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, according to the ADAA.
Love acknowledged some days are still “heavy” and “super brutal” because you don’t get to choose when to turn it on or off.
“I tend to feel other people’s pain and then not take care of myself,” Love said. “I think it’s been the isolation of COVID. I think it’s been obviously everything that’s going on in America, social injustice…anxiety rates tripling from second quarter of 2019 to 2020, as well as depression rates quadrupling.”
Love also talked about learning from Robin Williams‘ HBO documentary.
Williams was always shown as a jolly, good-natured, fun-loving guy. It’s such a tragedy what happened and Love learned from the documentary that improving mental health is not going to be fixed if you keep getting to “higher heights in your profession, you have to work on yourself…and also have a form of escape in your life that’s going to be healthy and beneficial for you away form the court.”
“It just doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t care who you are, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what resources you have,” Love said. “If you don’t continue to work on it, you’re going to continue to have bad days.”
Through the Kevin Love Fund Facebook page, Love released videos this year talking the importance of practicing gratitude, mindfulness, and physical exercise.
The Kevin Love Fund is raising money hoping “to prioritize mental wellness alongside physical health.”
“If we have more people that pay it forward like we’ve seen across a number of sports and a number of walks of life, that’s going to be better,” Love said.
If you need help or are having suicidal thoughts, you are not alone and you are loved.
Please call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.
Counseling or therapy can help and there are always options for seeing a counselor or therapist near you by searching for one in your area.
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.