11.7 C
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Jay Glaser: "When depression hits me, I call The Rock"

I have no memory of waking up outside of the gray. While I couldn’t put it into words growing up, my earliest childhood memories were of anxiety and depression.

For me, the gray wakes up and feels like the universe hates me. It feels like the world wants bad things for me and that I’m unworthy of love. It’s almost like heavy chains are pulling me down; I can feel it physically on the left side of my gut and joints. It’s a visceral reaction.

The gray is always there, but when fear strikes it feels like the sky is about to fall in again. My heart starts racing a million miles a minute, my hands start shaking and my eyes start wandering. Then a panic attack occurs.

The truth is I know my life is great – but what’s going on between my ears sucks so most of the time I’m unable to feel the love that’s really out there for me, or to feel worthy to receive them.

I started working as a sports reporter in 1999, but it took me over a decade to get a full-time job. I spent 11 years in New York City making less than $10,000 a year, but because this anxiety and depression told me I was so worthless, it made me even more determined to work harder and prove myself. While most reporters worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., I was in the office from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day.

I had my first on-air performance in 2005. It was just me and a cameraman in an empty Allegiant stadium and all of a sudden the walls started falling down. It felt like I was having a heart attack.

From then on, anxiety attacks became a habit. It happened every time I was in front of the camera. Even when I was filming the TV series Ballers and I knew I could quit, it would happen. I call it wrestling with my abuser – I try to fight it, I try to talk to him and get myself to leave me alone, but he fights back.

Back in the 2000s, mental health just wasn’t part of the conversation, so when it first happened I thought I was having a heart attack on the air. I spent the next twelve years having doctors examine my heart until finally one told me I was having an anxiety attack.

Now, while I had the words to describe what was happening, I hid my suffering. I created The Glaze – this big character who was always laughing and cracking jokes to deal with his fear. I have worn this character as a badge of honor in football and in combat for a long time. Nobody knew how much pain I was in.

The pain of horror is always there and it is excruciating. The worst part for me is the 15 minutes a night I lay my head on my pillow and am stuck with my own thoughts about what a bad person I am and how unworthy I am to be loved. It feels like there’s just no one around to help, which is really lonely.

I wake up in the morning and I’m usually exhausted. Every morning I have to wake up and make a decision; I can lie in bed and let the gray take over, or I can get my ass out of bed. And once I get out of bed, I’ll be relentless as I attack this thing every day.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I felt the need to finally be open about my mental health. I’d just broken up with my girlfriend Rosie — who I’m fortunately back with because I’ve been working on myself — and I’ve reached out to a few friends I’d be working with during the Super Bowl.

I flew to Tampa and I said, “Hey guys, I need to talk. I’m miserable and scared of myself. Life is about choices and I will never commit suicide but my pain is heavy. Every day sucks.”

Immediately everyone said: “We have you. What do we have to do?” They hugged me and made me cry, and from then on they called me every day. I knew I wasn’t alone anymore; every single one of them was there for me.

A lot of people are afraid to show their feelings this way, but you know what? Nobody questions my manhood. I can cry and I can be vulnerable. This vulnerability changed my life and the space I live in now is beautiful.

Now when I have problems, I open up and lean on my friends. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I call The Rock immediately. He’ll drop everything and get back to me right away. For us it is non-negotiable. He is the most authentic friend I have.

Before, I never told my teammates at Fox what I was going through, but now when I’m having a bad day before the show, I text Curt Menefee or Howie Long and I’m like, “Oh man, I got one out of bed.” Simply telling them takes all the power out of the gray.

I used to be afraid of disturbing people, but now I realize that people want to be there, they want to help me. When I’m having a really bad day where I’m having a hard time getting out of bed — which has gone down to about three days out of seven a week — I’ll call my friends and say, “Man, I’m struggling today.” We’re trying to figure out what the trigger is, and then I’ll call to check it out because that’s my way of serving.

I absolutely believe it’s harder for men to be open about their mental health issues because it’s ingrained in men to suck it up and not show emotion. But when I train players and fighters, I tell them the opposite.

Many people, especially athletes, are so proactive about their physical health, but only see a therapist when the sky is falling. I believe that as a society we need to be much more proactive when it comes to mental health. There aren’t enough therapists out there, so we need to start becoming each other’s therapists.

Since I opened up about my mental health, not a week has gone by without someone, from a young age to grandparents, reaching out and saying, “Thank you for giving me those words. You saved my life.”

I always felt like I was cursed by the grey. But now that I’m getting these messages, I feel like God had a plan.

Jay Glazer is an NFL insider at Fox NFL Sunday, an MMA coach, actor, veteran attorney and founder of Merging Vets and Players (MVP). and the host of the top-charting podcast Unbreakable. Be new A book Unbreakable: How I Turned My Depression and Anxiety Into Motivation and You Can Toois available as hardcover and e-book Now and in paperback from 16.

All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.

As reported by Monica Greep, editor of latestpagenews’s My Turn.

Latest news
Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here