When a teen-age soccer player decides to quit for good, the repercussions can be devastating.
For 17-year-old D’Angelo Jackson, who has been struggling with depression and anxiety since he started playing soccer, quitting is a choice he’s had to make for years.
It started in 2012, when Jackson’s father, Terrell, was diagnosed with cancer.
Jackson said he couldn’t go on a soccer field anymore without thinking about his father’s health and the effects of cancer.
As Jackson’s depression worsened, he was forced to leave home.
The family moved to the outskirts of Detroit.
Terrell Jackson has since been diagnosed with breast cancer.
He said he lost nearly all of his savings.
He had no choice but to make the difficult decision to quit soccer.
Jackson said he quit when his father was diagnosed, and he felt like he couldn’st continue playing.
He said he wanted to give up, but he felt he couldn’t.
He decided to quit because he felt that playing was his calling.
He wanted to help others.
The experience made him realize that soccer was his passion, and it made him want to get involved in something positive.
It was difficult for Jackson, but the decision didn’t take away from the joy he felt when he first started playing.
“I felt like my body would never get to the level that it needed to be,” Jackson said.
“I felt that the things that I had built up, the goals that I wanted to achieve, would be lost.”
After his father died, Jackson moved to Michigan with his mother and four younger siblings.
As he moved into a new city, he began to have anxiety and depression.
He was hospitalized for several weeks at the beginning of 2013 and had to take a medication called amitriptyline for depression.
It helped him to calm down.
But he had trouble sleeping and had trouble concentrating.
“It was like a roller coaster, and I was in it for the long haul,” he said.
I was like, I can’t let this ride go on.
It was like I was going to die.
I just had to let it go.
The ride was over.
It took months before he started feeling better.
Jackson started taking amitropine, but it didn’t help.
His symptoms were getting worse.
He went to a psychiatrist who prescribed a different medication called escitalopram, which he found more effective.
“The medication was helping,” Jackson, a high school student, said.
It made Jackson feel like he was on a new journey.
“At first I didn’t think anything of it, but after a few months, it kind of took over me,” he recalled.
“Everything started to feel like it was my fault.”
Jackson had trouble thinking clearly.
He struggled to concentrate.
He could barely sit still and was afraid to eat.
He became extremely agitated.
He felt depressed and hopeless.
He quit soccer for the first time when he was 12.
He found solace in his sport, but said the roller coaster he was riding had a stop before it went to the next level.
“When you’re in this situation, you don’t really have any choice,” Jackson told the Detroit Free Press in December.
“You’re not even allowed to look at yourself.”
He stopped playing in high school, and was eventually kicked out of the team for three years.
He dropped out of school and enrolled at an alternative school.
He then started a new school and found employment.
Jackson has been an apprentice electrician for years and has started a job with a local energy company.
But now he has trouble with the mental side of his condition.
“Being a teenager, you’re always feeling out of control, but now I feel like I’m just stuck in a place I can never get out of,” he told the newspaper.
“Sometimes you don’ have a choice,” he added.
“Sometimes you have to make it.”
Jackson says he’s been depressed for years, but has only recently started to admit that his depression is a problem.
He thinks that maybe it’s time to accept it, to admit he has a problem, and to take steps to get help.
“You can’t take it from somebody else,” he explained.
“Maybe it’s the fact that I’m so young, and you know I’m not that old.
Maybe it’s that I’ve always been good at what I do and I don’t know how to stop it.
I don’ think I know how.”
Jackson hopes his story will be a wake-up call to other youth who may be feeling the same way he is.
“Soccer is a great sport for so many reasons, but when you’re trying to get a job, it can be hard for you,” Jackson added.
“We need to take some responsibility and get better at being good people, too.”