Profile: Kyler Erickson
College Basketball Player who was Granted 6 Years of Eligibility because of his Mental Health
Website – KylerErickson.com
What past life experiences, physical traumas or genetics do you believe have had an effect on your mental health?
As a senior in high school, I witnessed a shooting in my school’s administration office. I saw & heard far too much, as our assistant principal was shot & killed. Our principal was also shot but he lived, & it was a day that none of us will ever forget. I was later diagnosed with PTSD & depression.
How did the effects on your mental health appear in terms of symptoms?
Dealing with PTSD caused many nightmares, sleepless nights, & a lot of fear for what others may think of me. I thought I was ‘crazy.’ I would wake up around 3am every night, hallucinating visions in my head. My brain kept replaying the day of the shooting, over & over again. Anytime I would hear fireworks, I’d curl up into a ball & cover my ears. Anytime I heard loud screams, it took me right back to the day of the shooting. My brain would not let me think about anything else. My friendships were failing, my college grades were awful, & I had kidney stones because I wasn’t taking care of my body. My life was in shambles.
When and why did you decide to ask for help to get relief?
I knew I couldn’t live my life like this for much longer. The stigma with being diagnosed with a ‘mental illness’ is very real, & that’s what kept me from getting help sooner. If we have a broken arm, that’s fine we can talk about it & see a doctor. But if we have a broken brain? The stigma says don’t get help, it’s weird, & that people will be ashamed of us. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you’re reading this right now & you’re depressed, suicidal, lonely, or full of anxiety, I beg you to get help. You are loved. You are important. You matter.
What methods helped you individually get/feel better?
I went through four months of a therapy called EMDR. Basically, the right side of our brains are attached to emotions. The left side of our brains are not. Throughout this treatment, it moved my recollection of the day of the shooting from the right side of the brain, to the left. Now, it’s no longer crippling & debilitating to think about. I believe the success rate is somewhere around 85% for EMDR, & it has worked wonders for me. However, what’s most important is that you find that works for YOU. The most important aspect of this is YOU, not the therapy that you choose. All brains & Central Nervous Systems are very different.
Why did you decide to go public with your story? Who were/are you hoping to help and how?
I want to help as many people as I can. I want to be that little extra ounce of courage that somebody needs, to finally go seek a counselor or therapist. I’m on a mission for the rest of my life, to completely tear down the walls associated with the stigma surrounding mental health disorders. I know first-hand how crippling these disorders can be, & I hope to inspire a few people to get the help that they so desperately need.
How did people react when you went public with your story?
Here’s the thing about humans – Most of them are good. The media finds the bad 1% & makes us believe that most humans instead shun people who openly share their battles. On the contrary, people have been overwhelmingly supportive of my story and my journey, & I’ve received thousands of messages from all across the world. Everything in life is better shared – happiness, joy, grief, & pain. Telling my #SameHere🤙story has not only helped me get through tough times, but helped others as well. It’s a two-way street.