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Ex-DET QB Erik Kramer Recounts Suicide Attempt

Five years ago, former Detroit Lions quarterback Erik Kramer attempted to take his own life. Though he survived the incident, he was left with severe brain damage that left him vulnerable to an ex-wife who he claims victimized him in a scheme that ultimately cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars. He tells his story to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports in hopes that others suffering mental illness (including many of his former colleagues in the NFL) will seek the help they need.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

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Comments

4 comments, Last at 25 Aug 2020, 5:43pm

1 I'm turning fifty next year…

I'm turning fifty next year and I can empathise with why Kramer tried to commit suicide. Statistically late forties is one of the hardest periods because while you're not old, you're no longer young. And everything around you is reminding you of that. It gets happier once you accept it but for some people, acceptance is difficult.

I've been working on my mental health since my twenties and it pays off when tough times hit. My advice to any young men reading this is to start building a few strong friendships with highly reliable, non-judgmental people. Too many men rely on their girlfriend/wife for that and if divorce happens they have no-one at a time when things are difficult. 

More importantly create a relationship with yourself, take time to look inwards and examine how you are feeling. Too many of my own male friends still don't have a clue how to talk about their feelings because they don't understand them, let alone be able to communicate them.

What I read in Kramer's story is that while he now has friends and family around him as support, when he was at his lowest ebb he had no-one he felt able to turn to and he didn't have the skills to cope with the difficult emotions he was facing. You have to take down your own walls before this happens. It's easier to turn to others when it is already a habit.

2 Well said. I would never say…

Well said.

I would never say that Stoicism works for everyone, but it helped me, personally, with this issue and has helped a lot of people in the past.  if someone is reading this and wondering where to start, there are a number of books on how to start with.  I suggest a book called How to Think Like a Roman Emperor.  Or you can go with the modernized, file-the-serial-numbers-off version called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Or anyone can feel free to drop me an email at this user name at gmail dot com.

3 "My advice to any young men…

"My advice to any young men reading this is to start building a few strong friendships with highly reliable, non-judgmental people. Too many men rely on their girlfriend/wife for that and if divorce happens they have no-one at a time when things are difficult."

This is really important. When a lot of men divorce, they don't just lose their partner, they lose a huge chunk of their social circle as well, because their "mutual friends" were really just your partner's friends, not yours.

4 Mutual friends

Without sharing too much, I am going through the same thing, with a couple of exceptions. Almost every single one of our mutual friends (around 100) are supporting me, since she first distanced herself from most of them, and then moved 800 miles away. However, with most of them, we were friends as a couple. These are parents of our kids' friends/classmates, people we volunteer with, etc.; with the exception of 1 or 2, these are not people that either of us have known for decades. I didn't go to one Christmas get-together this last year because I knew I would feel very alone. At the other one, I had a couple of people who were unaware of what was going on ask me why I didn't bring my wife and kids. I made up an excuse, but I was the only person there out of about 30 who didn't have any family member there.

So, I really haven't lost anyone out of my social circle--but, I am very detached from a lot of my social circle between COVID reasons and couples/family get-togethers. Thankfully, nobody has pushed me away--in fact, a couple of guys have reached out a little extra to me. But it's still awkward, because nobody wants to hear all the gory details, and I have tried to make an extra effort not to trash my soon-to-be ex-wife. 

The quoted advice is tremendous, whether you're single or in a stable relationship. If I didn't have 6 or 7 guys that have filled that void (a couple have been for years; others have stepped up), I probably would have gone off the deep end.