Marcus Morris says Celtics encouraged him to seek help for anxiety and depression

Marcus Morris says Celtics encouraged him to seek help for anxiety and depression

When NBA stars Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan opened up about their mental health struggles last season, it was bigger than them. Now it seems they’ve helped pioneer a league-wide movement to destigmatize mental illness.

The most recent effort is a five-part series from ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, in which various players are opening up about their struggles — some for the first time. The first installment featured Celtics legend Paul Pierce revealing he struggled with serious depression after he was stabbed at a nightclub in 2000.

Celtics forward Marcus Morris opened up about his rough childhood and lingering anxiety and depression in the second installment released Tuesday.

Morris and his twin brother Markieff (Wizards forward) grew up in North Philadelphia. Morris told ESPN it was like being “trapped in a box” where one false move could mean life or death. The brothers relied on each other, and both told ESPN in unison that they have been living with depression that stemmed from their childhood.

“Honestly, I didn’t feel like I could trust anybody — not even the people in my neighborhood, who I knew my whole life,” Morris told ESPN. “We just walked out stressed all the time. I said to my brother once, ‘You know, this is no way to live.'”

Things resurfaced for Morris in the fallout of a rocky rookie season. He recalls the 2015 trade to Detroit that separated him from his brother as a low point. He was barely sleeping and questioned if the NBA was even right for him.

“I start asking myself, ‘Is this for me?'” Morris told ESPN. “Growing up, I loved the game so much — it was the only thing that made me happy. But now it’s stressing me out. It’s all negative. It’s all business, and I’m having trouble with that. So you start flipping back and forth. The money is great, but is it good for me as a human? Shouldn’t that matter more than anything?”

When he got traded to the Celtics last season, though, Morris found that GM Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens were “incredibly open” about encouraging players to seek help with mental health issues. They introduced Morris to psychologist Dr. Stephanie Pinder-Amaker.

“She has helped me so much,” Morris told ESPN. “It may sound silly, but just closing my eyes in a dark room and breathing for 10 minutes a day helps me. I know lots of guys who are dealing with some kind of anxiety and depression — not knowing if they have a job next season, not knowing if they’re going to get traded. It’s so stressful. Everyone is pulling at you. They want your time, your money, a piece of your fame…If you have depression, you should be trying to get rid of it instead of bottling it up and letting it weigh on you and weigh on you and weigh on you.”

 



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Source: GreenStreet Blog

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