For Channing Frye, 2016 was a bad year. He lost both parents to cancer, and on the court, it was a difficult season playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Frye opened up about his struggles with depression in an interview with Complex that was posted on Thursday. In the piece, Frye speaks candidly about mental health and how many athletes are not built to properly deal with difficult realities in real life.
Frye also talked about how doing the Road Trippin’ podcast with Richard Jefferson helped him get through his tough time and how mental stress can take a physical toll on people.
Depression is a very real thing that can make it difficult to complete even the most basic of tasks. And the 34-year-old said not many NBA players have struggles that fans simply can’t see.
The way that athletes have been viewed for so long, it’s like, ‘listen, no matter what’s going on in your life, you come out here, you do your job, and then you go back home.’
It’s hard when you can’t get out of bed, or when you can’t enjoy the little things, when you know you should; when you’re around people that you love but you don’t feel the love, when you’re doing things that you like, that you should be proud of yourself for, but you know you’re not; when it’s just like a funk. Your body aches, your mind aches, and for me, that’s how it was. It was like, no matter how much I stretched or warmed up, I still was stiff, I still felt broken. I can attest for people when they start to feel like that, even if you may think you’re okay, go see somebody; talk to somebody. You may learn something about yourself that you didn’t know and you can avoid that situation from getting deeper.
Frye said that it wasn’t until after the season, which ended with a third-straight trip to the NBA Finals, that he realized he needed help.
“I’m pretty good at hiding things but I didn’t know until the season was over how emotionally exhausted and how broken I really was,” Frye said. “As professional athletes, we’re suppose to tuck emotion down away and you get used to that because in a game, you may not like a play, but you have to let that go and continue moving on. Real life is different.”
It’s great to see Frye speak openly about things like this. It seems like Frye is on the right track, and maybe he can inspire others struggling to reach out and get help.