When Nick Emery withdrew from BYU to take care of personal issues in his life, his basketball career was put on hold. He has publicly discussed his challenges and it includes bouts of anxiety and depression.
In a blog, Emery discusses thoughts of suicide and the intensity of his competitive spirit that has carried him through life by immersing himself in basketball as an outlet.
Still under review by the NCAA for allegations he accepted improper benefits this past year, Emery has kept up with his school work on his own to keep his eligibility intact, according to BYU head coach Dave Rose. This past Monday, he was involved in helping his former AAU coach Golden Holt manage a Martin Luther King Jr. Day high school basketball tournament.
But in his blog, Emery shares some of his inner challenges. He lists things that have really impacted his life and brought anxiety, and admits he hasn't always handled things the way he wanted, including losing his temper and "lashing out," at times.
"Do I regret ever doing these things? Well, of course, yes! But what I don't regret are the things I have learned and understanding the deeper meaning of why I lash out during sports and when I play the game of basketball."
The items he listed as major challenges in his young life include coming home early from his LDS Church mission and dealing with those feelings; falling from a tree and shattering his foot a few months before his freshman season; being a newcomer freshman and the incident during the game at Utah; getting married and divorced; and forgetting his roots and God.
Wrote Emery, "Depression and anxiety are a scary subject, yet it is such a real thing a lot of people deal with. I always thought being depressed and having anxiety had a really bad connotation and that people would look down on me if I admitted I had it.
"Honestly, I truly believe hiding these feelings from others only put me into a deeper and more depressive state."
The Centers for Disease Control shows the youth suicide rate in Utah has been rising over the past few years. This week the expected starting quarterback at Washington State died from what authorities suspect was a suicide.
The takeaway from Emery's blog is that he is sharing his feelings to heal. It takes courage to take on responsibilities, admit mistakes and face the monster in the closet. It appears Emery is doing just this in sharing his feelings.
Kudos to Emery. May the path back be filled with strength and the rock of his faith, with support from his family and closest friends. That's what it takes.