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James Donaldson on Mental Health Pt. 2


Hey everybody,

On this wonderful Memorial Day Weekend Holiday, where we remember and honor those who served our great country, I’d also like to ask all of you to remember and honor those who are suffering mental health challenges and issues that have led to far too many lives ending way too early. Let’s keep those families that are left behind, in our remembrances.

I wanted to take another moment, to continue to express my thanks and gratitude for the wonderful show of support, uplifting and encouraging words, and all of the thoughts and prayers. I really appreciate it, more than you’ll ever know. If you haven’t read my article that was published in The Athletic last week, here is a link to it. http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

It’s almost “therapeutic” for me, to communicate to you all how I am doing every few days. Of course, I’m continuing to see my doctors for all of my medical/mental concerns. I’m still having health issues in regards to my open heart surgery I had over three years ago. I was hospitalized for four days a couple of weeks ago for an “irregular heartbeat” which is now being controlled and managed with medication. We are planning for another surgical procedure to do a “bypass surgery” for a “subclavian steal syndrome” condition that I have developed since my open heart surgery. As you can imagine, all of these things continue to weigh heavy on me as well. I’m just glad to be here!

Other than that though, the week is been a pretty good one, with a couple of doctor appointments, and continuing to work with some business professionals, to help me put together my next “life chapter” of me getting out there and speaking and being an advocate for mental health issues and mental health support. It’s great that people are talking about it more openly now. Here’s a screenshot of a text message from me in the middle of the night to one of my friends…. crying out for help…. this is what people in my situation think of and the hopelessness that is evident, at least to them. Looking back now, I still can’t believe that my life seemed “broken”, but that’s where I was and what I thought at the time.

I had a wonderful meeting with Kym Hiliniski (the mother of our young WSU quarterback who committed suicide in January) and her son, Kelly, this past Thursday, and it was great for us to get together in support and also looking for ways to work together with the Hilinski Hope Foundation, that has been set up in Tyler Hilinski’s honor. http://hilinskishope.org/  

I am looking to start a similar foundation as well, in regards to working with young student-athletes, and our young students in general, to continue to bring awareness to mental health challenges that so many of us go through.

Anyway, that’s about my update for this weekend. I appreciate so many friends throughout the country, commenting on my social media pages and not only offering support, but many times sharing experiences they’ve gone through personally or people close to them have gone through.

Financially, I am struggling to keep things going, since the closing of my business, I have no income coming in, and the monthly NBA pension I received, is not quite enough to cover my monthly mortgage on my home. So, therefore, I’m scrambling about to stay current with utilities, cell phone bill, monthly auto insurance and auto payments, medical bills, etc. So, as I’ve done most recently for my friend and former NBA player, Joe Pace, I’m working with some supportive friends, to put together a GoFundMe page for myself, which I hope people will contribute to and go towards my ongoing financial obligations. Please keep an eye open for it to be up and operating this week.

Thank you so much again, everyone, for the tremendous amount of love and support that you are shown. I remember back during my “darkest days” when my doctor was trying to tell me that “people would miss me, many people love me and that I should not take my life”, and I was sitting 2 feet away from him, and I looked right back at him and said “nobody’s going to miss me, nobody cares, nobody loves me”. That was a very dark place to be, where I had nothing but “hopelessness” and “darkness”. I’ve come a long, long way since then and am almost back to my old self.

Now that I am “back in my right mind” I realize now, how many lives I have touched in a positive way over the years, and how much I would’ve missed you.

Thank you so much…

James Donaldson


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