My name is Brandynn Clark and this is my story. I’m 27 years old and was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I grew up in a smaller suburb called Macedonia, Ohio which is just outside of the city.
I attended Nordonia High School and graduated in 2011. I was a three sport athlete in highschool where I participated in Football, Basketball and Track. I currently play Indoor Football professionally for the Iowa Barnstormers in the IFL.
When I was 17 years old I was hospitalized and needed an emergency appendectomy. During the surgery a small hole was punctured in my small intestine unknowingly and bile was leaking inside of me for days on end, nearly killing me as I was recovering at home. Rushing back to the hospital I had to undergo 5 more surgeries in a 2 month span to literally save my life.
The recovery was dreadful. The doctors told me I would never play a contact sport again.
Hearing that at a young age can be demoralizing when sports is pretty much all you’ve known your 17 years of living. In the recovery process, my depression got so bad I attempted suicide by pills once. That constant thought of failure, worthlessness, it took over me. I didn’t know anything about mental health or what to do to take care of it at the time. I rejected therapy, I rejected treatment. I bottled all those emotions up for years thinking it would just go away, but little did I know that unresolved pain would cause damage in the long run.
As the years went by, and I got older, more and more things began to happen in my life. Anyone who is a full time student-athlete knows how stressful that life can be. Especially in college. It’s a full time job, and we feel like we can’t speak up about our mental health or we would seem weak. School work would pile up, I was so focused on NOT messing up in football putting so much unnecessary pressure on myself.
Then real life problems started to present themselves. (bills etc.). I would suffer in silence and I wasn’t noticing my behavior drastically changing, I was angry all the time, my relationships were failing, I lost a close friend to gun violence and accidentally killed my childhood pet so I had a lot of frustration built up.
10 years of suffering in silence, dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD & mood disorders…I finally spoke up.
It took a pandemic and some real personal issues to force me to get help, but it was the best decision I could have ever made. It saved my life.
My message to the world is don’t be afraid to get help. Your Mental Health is just as important as anything else in this world. If not more. Please seek help for yourself, for your loved ones, for everyone.
Written by: Brandynn Clark