Outward appearances can be deceiving.
People that seem as though they have it all are often dealing with their own destructive demons behind closed doors.
That was the case with Iowa Hawkeyes standout Sean Welsh, who, despite various accolades and successes, confessed to problems he suffered from in his personal life.
Welsh wrote on the school website about his ongoing struggle with depression.
Iowa offensive lineman Sean Welsh opened up about his battle with depression Wednesday in a post he wrote for the athletic department’s website.
The redshirt senior has been a regular on the Hawkeyes’ front line for the last three seasons, earning a second-team All-America nod from USA Today and several all-conference accolades during his career. Welsh said he first started dealing with the symptoms of depression during his redshirt freshman season in 2014.
“Football, the driving force for many years of my life, went from a source of purpose to a source of apathy,” he wrote. “I started to feel a myriad of negative emotions: sadness, anxiety, dread and anger. They hit me like a bombardment from the moment I woke up to when I went back to bed.”
“If you think you suffer from depression, see someone. If you suspect a loved one suffers, get them the help they need. And if you know of someone struggling with depression be understanding and caring — you will make a world of difference.”
Welsh said he temporarily left the program to seek help on two different occasions despite having success on the field and in the classroom. He wrote that he left spring practice in 2015 to see a therapist and treat the disease. He also struggled through a bout of depression during training camp in August 2016.
Welsh said doctors have told him his depression is a genetic condition that will stay with him throughout his life. He said he decided to share stories about his run-ins with the disease publicly in hopes of raising awareness for how to manage it.
Last fall Welsh was a part of Iowa’s leadership group, a member of the Academic All-Big Ten team and won the program’s Hustle Award. He is one of three Hawkeye players who will be representing his teammates at the Big Ten media days in Chicago next week.
Welsh’s message is important, it lets others know they aren’t alone, and it raises awareness about the warning signs.
Richard Kravitz M.D, M.S.P.H., Professor of Internal Medicine at UC Davis said:
“Depression doesn’t always look like debilitating sadness. Patients are reluctant to consider depression as a cause of their symptoms—in part because they may equate it with weakness, but also in part because they simply don’t associate those symptoms with depression.”
According to suicide prevention organization Overnight.org:
Twenty-five million Americans suffer from depression each year. Over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.
Depression affects nearly 5-8 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year. More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.
Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be recognized.
Good for Sean Walsh for putting himself out there and talking about this issue. With more awareness and understanding, a lot of suffering and tragic deaths can be abated.