Sunday against the Detroit Lions was Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson’s second game back after taking a two-week leave of absence to address his mental health.
The 31-year-old has come forward to reveal that he has dealt with anxiety and depression for years, making his first public comments on Sunday with Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.
“It’s a beast, man,” Johnson admitted. “It goes to bed with you, it wakes up with you, all the time.”
Johnson said he was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in college, silently suffering for nearly a decade before things came to a head this year.
“I felt like I had my stuff temporarily under control,” he said. “I was ashamed, to be honest. In the NFL, a gladiator-type sport… I was living in hell for a long time.”
This season, however, it became too much to handle.
“The monster kept building and building and building,” Johnson said. “It finally came to a point where I said, I’m not going to take it no more.
“Trying to describe it to people who have no clue is very difficult. You lose touch with a sense of yourself. You lose touch with what’s going around you. What we tend to do is lock up, not want to say anything.
“I felt bad for my team but there were signs that this wasn’t new, a spur of the moment. This was going on for months.”
Far too long considering what Johnson was going through.
“Feels like doom,” he said. “I just want to run away and not come back. A lot of nausea, a lot of throwing up every day. It got so bad, I was throwing up blood. Nerves, I had tremors in my hand. This was something I was dealing with for a long time.”
Johnson reiterated the importance of finding and leaning on a support system — whether it is family or friends.
“I told my mom that something is really wrong with me,” he continued. “I don’t know exactly what it is. I’m miserable, I know my mind isn’t right, my body isn’t right. So I left. I went back home, I didn’t have any communication with the Eagles.”
It was the best decision that he made.
“Tell a loved one. If it’s to a degree of seriousness, there’s always help around the corner… it’s never out of reach,” he said. “Whenever you do this, you realize that you have a lot more in common with everybody else around you than you think. That’s the best part about this.”