Former coach shares struggle to overcome anxiety, depression: ‘I felt guilty and embarrassed’ – KWCH

Posted: February 21, 2020 at 12:41 pm


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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) Former Newman basketball coach Mark Potter suffered from anxiety most of his life. Fifteen years ago the anxiety spiraled into severe depression.

That season was different. By the time we got to the first game of that season, I was in severe depression. I had really dark thoughtssuicidal thoughts. To the point of this cloud over my head I can't get rid of it, says Potter sitting in the gym that now has his name painted on the floor.

Potter says in less than six weeks he lost a lot of weight, and interest in the game he loves.

I lost my passion and didn't know why. I would say I would come in and describe it as I would fake it for two hours for practice.

Potter says he did consider suicide and had it not been for his wife, he may have taken his own life.

She finally decided enough is enough. My wife at that point did not take no for an answer.

Retired from coaching, Potter now has a new mission. He travels the country to share his story.

I was not going to talk about this publicly. I felt the guilt and the embarrassment of not being the man, the coach and the father I was supposed to be.

Potter turned to professional help. He went to therapy and was prescribed medications that he proudly tells people he is still on today.

I have no problems telling you and the world Im on medication.

Prairie View President and CEO Jessie Kaye says what Potter is doing is so important to help break the stigma of mental illness.

It's a fear of exposing a vulnerability. When Im sitting in church people may stand up and say there was a spot on my x-ray, or I just found out Im diabetic, or my husband was just diagnosed with cancer. The pastor and congregation are supportive and we send cards and take casseroles. I've never heard anyone stand up and say my anxiety is getting worse or my son is having more trouble with depression or someone in my family attempted suicide, says Kaye.

But thats what Potter is doing. Hes standing up and telling his story through his organization called D2UP. He talks to anyone who will listen, mostly young people in schools and colleges, and tells them that its okay to get help.

There is strength in getting help and becoming the best version of yourself. It is not weakness which is what generation after generation has been told including my generation. If you are struggling at all please take the first step and go to your doctor and do what your doctor tells you to do, says Potter.

Kaye says one in four people will have a mental illness at some point in their life.

A mental illness is a disease. Its a treatable disease. It has to do with chemicals in our brain and recovery is very possible.

Potter says maybe its you, or someone you know. Reaching out for help can and does save lives.

You may change or save a life you never know.

If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety or depression, you can find a list of "Helpful Resources" at kwch.com/stateofmind.

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Former coach shares struggle to overcome anxiety, depression: 'I felt guilty and embarrassed' - KWCH

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February 21st, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Life Coaching