Former Seattle Seahawks Clint Gresham Shares Struggle with Anxiety in Joanna Gaines’ ‘Magnolia Journal’

Former Seattle Seahawks long snapper Clint Gresham recently shared his struggle with anxiety in the Fall issue of Magnolia Journal. Here’s what the football star had to say about getting on the road to healing and finally finding peace.

Seattle Seahawks’ Clint Gresham said he always struggled with anxiety

Seattle Seahawks Clint Gresham stretching before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in 2012 | Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Seattle Seahawks Clint Gresham stretching before a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park in 2012 | Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Gresham shared in his Magnolia Journal essay that he has always struggled with anxiety. As a result, he had a tough time in school. The former NFL player said the only thing he excelled at was football:

It’s hard for me to remember a time growing up when I wasn’t anxious. My thoughts were constantly racing over each other and there was this relentless, uncontrollable energy running through my body—like I’d never be able to settle myself, never be comfortable in my own skin. School was always an uphill battle. But what I did excel in at an early age was sports. Football, especially, felt like something that was in my control.

Clint Gresham said he had a hard time balancing anxiety with his NFL career

Although Gresham was living what seemed to be the good life, he says he wasn’t at peace. It was hard for him to enjoy his success because he was wrestling with panic and depression.

On the surface, I was living the dream. But the fact that I was a long snapper was just too ironic; I can’t think of a worse position for someone who would later be diagnosed with major depressive disorder and panic disorder.

Imagine coming out on the field only a few times a game and throwing the football 8 yards so that it lands in a box that’s roughly 6 inches by 6 inches, and on its way, the ball must rotate two and a half times so that when our holder catches it, the laces are pointing forward. Anything other than exactly that was a failure. The pressure to perfectly hit that mark was all-consuming. In an attempt to numb my anxiety, I was taking Xanax and drinking like crazy. I even thought about taking my own life.

Clint Gresham, The Magnolia Journal, Fall 2019

Clint Gresham on wholeness

Long snapper Clint Gresham of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates victory over the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014 | Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Long snapper Clint Gresham of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates victory over the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014 | Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Gresham’s struggle grew worse after he got cut from the Seattle Seahawks shortly after signing a three-year contract. One way he worked through his feelings of sadness and defeat was by writing a book about his experience with depression and anxiety.

The theme of Magnolia Journal’s Fall issue is wholeness. In his essay, Gresham said he believes wholeness is really accepting the broken parts. He doesn’t believe wholeness means perfection. “Maybe wholeness is the acceptance of brokenness. Once I’m OK with my imperfection, that’s when things totally change because I’m not trying to look different or feel different. I’m just letting myself be. That’s what I’ve been growing toward—or maybe even running toward,” wrote Gresham.

The former NFL player says he now has peace

Gresham learned how to work through his mental health struggles, and he says he now has peace. For him, the road to peace required him to engage in self-care and be more thoughtful about the people he spends time with. Here’s what he shared at the end of his essay for Magnolia Journal:

It’s strange that after being on what some might consider the mountaintop of my career, I have found more life in the mundane of everyday, like choosing to be around people and putting myself out there, getting sunlight, exercising, eating healthy, and simply speaking kindly to myself… There’s a peace that I have now after doing the work and then just learning how to sit and be comfortable in the uncomfortable, believing that, day by day, I am being made whole.

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