Alliance Profile – Derek Anderson
In 1996 Derek Starred on a University of Kentucky Team that won an NCAA Championship, He was then Drafted in 1997 by the Cleveland Cavaliers where he would Earn All-Rookie Second Team Honors, Throughout his NBA Career he Played for the Cavaliers, Clippers, Spurs, Trail Blazers, Rockets, Heat, and Bobcats, Winning an NBA Title with the Heat in 2006
What past life experiences, physical traumas or genetics do you believe have had an effect on your mental health?
Walking into an abandoned apartment at age 11 seemed unlikely to happen to a child but it happened to me. Going years without seeing my parents and then having a child at 15 myself made life very hard. I used basketball to keep me distracted but the pain was always there. As I got older basketball couldn’t fix my broken heart.
How did the effects on your mental health appear in terms of symptoms?
I would go thru phases to where I wanted to be alone and those were the times I could release my pain and anger. I never drank, smoked, or used drugs because that’s how I lost my family. My mindset was to smile so I could always calm myself before I would lose myself. There was plenty of pain behind those smiles but it helped me get by.
When and why did you decide to ask for help to get relief?
I was having issues with basketball and personal relationships in college and I kept hearing people tell me that God has a plan for you. I wasn’t into church but went in search of some help there. Bible studies in college and the NBA helped me get a foundation to stand on. I still struggle with things but I’ve learned to have faith in my spirit which helps calm me down.
What methods helped you individually get/feel better?
I’ve always used comedy to take my mind off my inner pain. I ALWAYS watch Sanford & Son and I find myself laughing for a while, and then I realize I can’t change what happened, so I just smile and move on to the next moment of my life which I feel I can enjoy. IT STILL WORKS!
Why did you decide to go public with your story? Who were/are you hoping to help and how?
I did it because after 20+ years I found both my parents and I tried to form a relationship with them. I felt so much relief after that…I felt that was all I needed to do to be able to smile on my own. So many people asked why I forgave them, and that was my answer. So, I wanted others to know that forgiveness can help them relieve their own pain too.
How did people react when you went public with your story?
They were very supportive. The truth is, #SameHere, everyone has at least one past demon that bothers them. We all need to find a way to get rid of them so we can enjoy this one great life.