Alliance Profile – Rushia Brown
Inaugural Member of the WNBA, Played 7 Seasons with the Cleveland Rockers, Won 2 Eastern Conference Titles, Currently Founder of the Women’s Professional Basketball Alumnae Association, Manger of Team and Player Development with the Las Vegas Aces
What past life experiences, physical traumas or genetics do you believe have had an effect on your mental health?
I lost my father to cancer as a freshman in high school & went into a downward spiral. After multiple negative situations, I found sports & my life took a turn. I had a way to connect with my dad & make him proud of me. While my sport gave me that connection, when I retired from pro basketball, I went into a depression because I didn’t know who I was & what my purpose was. One year when I was overseas, someone broke into my house while I was asleep in my bed & came into my room. I was traumatized but knew I had to keep it to myself & not tell my family because they would want me to come home.
How did the effects on your mental health appear in terms of symptoms?
The sum of these events over those years made me emotionless & incapable of connecting with anyone or anything.
When and why did you decide to ask for help to get relief?
Initially, I turned to alcohol & inappropriate behavior. Then sports became my coping mechanism. After retiring I went to speak with someone when my mom brought it to my attention that I was always locked in my room in the dark IN THE BED. I was diagnosed with High Functioning Depression
What methods helped you individually get/feel better?
I started to improve from that dark place by making myself get active, doing community service & helping others, not sitting around too long & just focusing on how badly I was feeling.
Why did you decide to go public with your story? Who were/are you hoping to help and how?
I realized that so many people experience similar situations & there is more to be learned when we share our vulnerabilities to empower one another.
How did people react when you went public with your story?
My #SameHere story, once I shared publicly, was very well-received & people connected with me because they didn’t just see me as an athlete that achieved their goals, but as a woman that had obstacles, challenges & set backs but still managed to push through & be successful.