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Adam On Depression

Regular readers know Adam Harstad, a longtime friend and co-writer of mine at Footballguys.com. Adam, who is known as the second-best trivia expert on the FBG staff, is a frequent guest poster here and a good follow on @AdamHarstad.

If you’re curious about a look behind the Football Perspective posting curtain, I write most of my articles in the morning. I spend an hour between waking up and going to the gym where I catch up on life things and also draft an article for this site.

Today, I didn’t have time to do that. That’s because I was busy reading Adam’s article (posted on his own site) about depression.  It’s a long article (here’s the executive summary) but that’s a feature, not a bug.  Adam put together a very revealing and thoughtful bit of writing about a really serious and important topic. I am no expert on mental health, but I know depression is bad for at least two reasons: a lot of people suffer from it, and it has an enormous impact on those suffering from it.

It’s not easy to expose yourself to the world the way Adam has, and I commend him for it. Even more impressive: Adam admits and acknowledges that he hasn’t won, but that posting this article is part of his process in trying to overcome depression.  He said that public shame is a powerful motivator, and posting this would perhaps help him in this battle.  So if me posting this helps him help himself, hey, I’m happy to.

I also wanted to post it here to show Adam that we all support him, even if he knows that already.  And I’m sure there are other FP readers  dealing with depression in all of its stages and depths, so  I think reading Adam’s story can be helpful. If you have the time, I encourage you to read Adam’s article in full. And if you don’t have the time, I really encourage you to read his article in full. Again, I’m no mental health expert, but I think people dealing with depression find comfort in knowing that they’re not a lone, and that lots of people deal with depression.  And if you’ve come this far and are still wondering, yes, today’s post was really just a ploy to remind Adam that I’m better than him at trivia.

So today, maybe leave a nice note for Adam in the comments or on his twitter feed.  Or maybe you have some knowledge to share on mental health and depression. I trust you guys to help each other out.


  • Thanks, GB. You probably are better than me at football trivia, although I’d say the difference in mean ability is low enough and standard deviation is high enough that I’m not super-confident in that assessment, and also there’s a big difference between “football trivia” and “trivia”.

    It’s fine, though. I’d imagine Lisk is also better than me at football trivia in the same “slightly higher mean, but large enough SD to make certainty impossible” way. And I think Bryan is better than any of us. And Raiderjoe is probably better than the four of us combined, (mostly because I’d imagine the four of us have a high degree of overlap).

    It’s a good thing I don’t derive my feelings of self-worth from how good I am at football trivia. Because then I’d be left with… umm… the same amount of feelings of self-worth as I have now, so I guess it doesn’t matter after all.

  • Tom

    Great post Chase. I have some experience with a related issue (anxiety); and yeah, it’s no fun when your brain isn’t quite working right (which can happen just like your elbow or your kidneys might not work right) and your mind (which is more YOU than your brain) is trying to make sense of it.

    Adam, you certainly don’t need any advice from some football blog reader that you don’t know, but I at least want to say: stay steady and ride this thing out. However it happens – therapy, exercise, medication, yoga, all that stuff everyone is telling you to do – the winner is the last guy standing and that will be you.

    If I knew how to “send good vibes”, I would do it, but since I don’t, I’ll say that I sincerely wish you the best with your struggle. Oh, and also, it took some serious stones for you to post what you did, and I tip my hat to you on that.

    (Also, I stink at trivia, which makes no sense because I’ve easily surpassed Gladwell’s 10,000 hours on this stat stuff)

    Take care Adam!

    • sacramento gold miners

      Adam, I had a problem myself, and these things can easily creep up on a person. Along with what Tom has said, I’ll share what helped me push aside the tough times. Surrounding yourself with people and activities which are both inspiring and enjoyable, keeping the mind occupied. In my case, I was able to build energy and momentum, which allowed me to get off the prescribed medicine, and I haven’t looked back. Procrastination is always a challenge, but as someone once told me about writer’s block, just power through it. From reading your story, you’ve got a ton going for you, and while we can’t change the past, the present and future have exciting possibilities. Good luck.

    • Adam

      I also dealt with anxiety for a number of years. At times it severely impacted my quality of life. Part of what helped me conquer it was the realization that acknowledging mental illness is NOT a sign of weakness. Nobody would be ashamed to go to the hospital for a broken arm, yet our society stigmatizes brain chemistry issues as if they were a sign of character deficit (especially for men). When people stand up and share their vulnerabilities with the world, it weakens that stigma and gives us all a little more room to be who we are, broken pieces and all.

      Thank you, Adam for taking the courageous step to share your story and shed some light on a silent American epidemic. I’m rooting for you, man.

      • Tom

        Yep. I’m embarrassed to say that I used to be one of those people that thought anxiety/depression, etc., could just be handled by “looking on the bright side” or “taking it easy”, and other nonsense, even thinking that people taking medication were lazy, blah, blah, blah. And then I got hit, and I was like “Oh, so this is what you were talking about? Well I didn’t know it was like THIS…”. Not fun when you’re brain breaks; glad to hear that you were able to conquer it!

  • AgronomyBrad

    Thanks for sharing. It’s stuff like this that makes Football Perspective a community more than a blog. I don’t have time to read the post on my lunchbreak, but I’m definitely looking forward to reading it when I get off work.

  • Tim Truemper

    Thanks to Adam for his courage to be open and disclosing. As a clinical psychologist I often have to deal with clients living in their private hell of a moderate to severe disorder because of the shame and embarrassment that some in society evoke. We are better as a society when I first started out as a practioner 30 years ago, but we still have a ways to go. And it is encouraging to see the statements below.

  • Thanks for linking, Chase; and thanks for writing, Adam.
    I’m having a difficult time at the moment and even though I know the actual information included here (I have a B.A. in psychology.), it helped to read it.

    • Thanks for the comment, Shattenjager. We love you here.

  • Ryan

    Great article Adam, it’s a pleasure to converse with you and the community here at football perspective.
    I wish you the best and am proud that you have persevered.

    After reading about your wife’s background with traumatic brain cases, my heart sank.
    My wife was stricken with viral pneumonia and I found her septic in February of 2014.
    She was a code blue for an hour but made a miraculous recovery, spending 3 months in hospitals, then going through rehab to return fairly close to a normal life.

    Starting in the spring of 2016, you could notice signs that something was wrong.
    Beginning to slip, we had her brain examined, white matter had spread throughout, so we tried the rehab route again.
    While courageous, the therapy wouldn’t take, she slowly began to lose her abilities, unable to initiate many actions.
    I found her April 25th 2017 unresponsive once again, this time the damage was far to great for a recovery.
    They only thought she would make it 10 minutes off a ventilator, she fought for 10 days!, but succumbed May 10th at 33 years old.

    I don’t suffer from depression, but the emptiness is immense from losing my better half, I’m blessed with family, friends, and work to keep me chugging along.
    PLEASE ALL, treasure the time you have with your family and loved ones (especially those with brain injuries), you never know what might happen tomorrow.