Joe Barksdale, who played for the St. Louis Rams between 2012-2014, spoke publicly for the first time about his depression and suicide attempt in opening up to the LA Times with a sobering story about his wife finding him in the kitchen with a knife, ready to kill himself:
His severe depression — something Barksdale calls the “monkey” always on his back — had gotten the best of him. Truth didn’t matter anymore. Only sadness did.
He got home and sharpened a knife, his mind racing. His wife, Brionna, convinced him to put it down. They talked, he calmed, and the crisis was averted.
Barksdale, who is on medication and in therapy, is sharing his story in the hopes of becoming an advocate for people suffering from chronic depression.
”If I could save another person, maybe that’s why the attempts [to harm himself] didn’t work,” he said.
In the article, Barksdale also said he was sexually abused as a child.
It was the beginning of childhood filled with insecurities and anxieties.
He felt like a burden because of his size. He was expensive to clothe and feed. He was more interested in engineering than he was in sports. Older kids in inner-city Detroit picked on him.
”Everything that’s happened to me going forward has just piled onto it,” he said. “It’s not going away. They’re like tattoos.”
To help him battle depression and anxiety, Barksdale said he learned to play the guitar. In fact, at former Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s suggestion, Barksdale released a Blues album entitled, Butterflies, Rainbows, and Moonbeams.
Barksdale was one of the more underrated players when he was with the Rams, and he helped the team greatly when he stepped up to play left tackle with the team. The Rams were struggling greatly at the line (shocker), and Barksdale—along with Rodger Saffold—were one of the few solid protectors.
I encourage you to read the rest of the piece, as it goes in greater detail about Barksdale’s struggles and triumphs.