Remember when we stated that Joey Votto was having problems with anxiety and panic and that he was having fears that he was dying? Votto spoke in the pregame about these issues and we were right on the ball. Read on to see word for word what Votto had to say. In terms of what he’s been going through, it’s eerie to know how similar of a situation we’ve found ourselves in before.
“As some of you know, my father passed away last August. The first day back I kind of put that all on back burner and just played baseball all the way to the end of September. I don’t want to use the word suppress because he was in my thoughts and I was dealing with it on a daily basis. But, as powerful a moment that is to lose your father so young in a way I did suppress it. From August to beginning of spring training, I was pretty severely depressed. I was dealing with the anxiety of grief and sadness and fear. Every emotion you can imagine that everyone goes through.
“I had a really difficult time with it. I was by myself down in Florida. I just was really looking forward to baseball. When baseball started up in February, I kind of did the same thing I did last August and threw it all on the side, threw all my emotions on the back burner and played baseball.
“I got sick in May. I had the upper respiratory thing and the ear infection. It was taking the time away from baseball and recovering from being sick when for the first time all emotions that had been pushing to the side that had been dealing with and struggling with in the winter hit me. They hit me a hundred times more than I had been dealing with.
“I was taken out of three separate games. The first game it was a combination of me being ill. But I could tell there was something going on. I couldn’t recover. I had this feeling of anxiety. I had this feeling in my chest. The second time I came out in San Diego, it was similar. But I was healthy and I felt like I could’ve played.
“The third time was in Milwaukee, and I was totally overwhelmed.
“I spoke to some doctors. They came to the conclusion I was dealing with obviously being depressed and anxiety and panic attacks. They were overwhelming to point where I had to go to the hospital on two separated occasions. Once in San Diego and once – nobody had been told about – but I went to the hospital once in Cincinnati when the team was on the road.
“It was very, very scary and crazy night. I had to call 911 at 3 or 4 in the morning. It was probably the scariest moment I ever dealt with in my life. I went to the hospital that night.
“The days I was taken off the field were little, miniature versions of what I was dealing with by myself. Ever since I’ve been on the DL and even the little bit before the DL, I’ve been really struggling with this in my private life. I’d go on the field and try to do my best and play well. I had my spurts when I’d play well. But going out on the field . . . I couldn’t do it anymore because I was so overwhelmed physically by the stuff I was dealing with off the field.
“It finally seeped its way into the game. I just had to put an end to it. I really couldn’t be out there. It’s difficult to explain what I was going through. I couldn’t do it. I physically couldn’t do my job. That’s what I’ve gone through.
“I’ve been talking and seeing some doctors. They’ve been a great help. And speaking to people in general – I spoke to my team last week – and letting people know what I’ve dealing and how difficult this grieving process has been. My father was young, and I’m a young man. I really wish I hadn’t lost my father so young. I’m the oldest brother. I feel like I’m responsible for my family. Maybe I have proclivity for depression or whatever it is.
“But I was dealing with some pretty abnormal circumstances – the combination of being a major league ballplayer, a young ballplayer and also dealing with my father and my family.”
We really feel for Joey Votto. We’re a year older then him. One day when we were 21, (and up until that time we lived life stupidly as if we were going to live forever, not a worry in the world) the same anxiety and panic hit our life. The fear of death. The thought that death, and the void it leaves, could happen to anyone, anytime.
It happened to me one night without reason. And it hasn’t fully left since then, and now I’m 26. I’ve just learned how to control my anxiety and thoughts, that after one bout with medication. I’m not doing Paxil anymore. It’s the Devil and it does more harm then good. But it’s definitely scary to hear that he is going through the same thing as we did at a relatively young age. He’ll battle through it. He isn’t done having panic attacks. It will be good and bad, especially at first (and we don’t know if he’s doing any anxiety medication at all), but we feel that Joey will eventually be fine and realize that there is nothing physically wrong with him. Anxiety is a monster, and it feels more real at times then a broken limb.