Gay North Carolina high school football player was depressed despite ‘having it all’

Student body president. Recruited football player. Loads of friends. Caring family.

Miserable. Coping with suicidal thoughts.

That was me in high school, the kid who appeared to have this life together, who seemed to have it all. Yet for most of it I was suffering through depression that robbed this seemingly happy kid of energy, productivity, and a quality of life I feel everyone deserves.

I was born and raised in a tiny town an hour west of Charlotte, N.C. My entire county has about 60,000 residents. Every fall is consumed by football, every spring by baseball and every Sunday by church. There’s only a handful of stop lights and you can almost guarantee you will run into someone you know just about every time you leave the house.

Having interests that didn’t include baseball or hunting in a farm town was at times difficult. I grew up competing in gymnastics, participating in my local theater and loving art class. I never quite fit the mold of every other guy my age around my home town, but with the encouragement of my parents         I stuck with what I loved.

Eventually I literally grew out of gymnastics and took up club soccer.   I played soccer competitively for several years before transitioning to high school varsity soccer as a freshmen. My eighth grade year I decided to play football with the intent of kicking, but didn’t make the cut as a kicker.

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