Alliance Profile - Reggie Walker
Played Linebacker in the NFL from 2009 – 2015 for the Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, & Denver Broncos
Walker played his college football at Kansas State and started 22 of 46 games, registered 163 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, six passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He went in drafted in 2009 and worked so hard that managed to make the Arizona Cardinals out of college and play for 3 teams over a 6 year NFL career.
What past life experiences, physical traumas or genetics do you believe have had an effect on your mental health?
Issues that have impacted my mental health have been multiple concussions as well as the trauma I’ve experienced from mental, physical, and sexual abuse.
How did the effects on your mental health appear in terms of symptoms?
These issues presented significant issues for me in my life. Suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, explosive anger, and constant self doubt plagued my mind for most of my life. The impact of these issues was profound leading me to going to a treatment center twice.
When and why did you decide to ask for help to get relief?
I decided to seek (help) health once I realized that what I was doing on my own wasn’t enough for certain issues, plus, I just knew getting help would make the process of “sitting with yourself and your problems” a lot easier to handle. I’ve always had an issue accepting help but I just reached my boiling point where it just made sense to try something different for a change.
What methods helped you individually get/feel better?
The practice of accepting help has been huge for me in being the best I can. Understanding I don’t have all the answers so I better go to those who do, saved my life. Yoga, meditation, walks, mantras, music, gratitude exercises, and positive reinforcement from myself are some of the practices I utilize to maintain mental and emotional clarity.
Why did you decide to go public with your story? Who were/are you hoping to help and how?
I decided to share my story a long time ago when I realized that more people suffer through the same exact issues I do, than I thought. There are a lot of people in pain that are waiting for someone to help create a space for them to heal. I want to help create those spaces.
How did people react when you went public with your story?
People’s reactions were all over the spectrum from being happy for me, sad for me, angry, empathetic, sympathetic, or they didn’t care at all. What I’ve learned is it is more important to stay with the purpose of why you’re telling your #SameHere story, not others reactions. You can’t control them or their reactions, you can only control yourself and your reactions.