What used to be enjoyable wasn’t anymore. His personality — once gregarious and fun — disappeared into a solitary sadness. He would go out occasionally. It masked his feelings — what he didn’t want to talk about with anyone, what he still hasn’t shared all that often, even now as a linebacker in the NFL, first with the San Francisco 49ers and now with the Detroit Lions.
He has been open about his past. When Harold was a junior in high school, his nephew Forrest Harold died of an enlarged heart while playing rec basketball at Old Dominion. Then less than two months later, his mother, Sheila Korvette Harold, died of pancreatic cancer. What he hasn’t been as open about is that he didn’t have the capability to cope. Throughout the rest of high school, he didn’t understand what he was going through. Then he got to college. And he sank.
“My freshman year in college, I had hit a point so low, it was like every day was just dark,” Harold says now. “I hated football. I hated friends. I hated everything. It was just — I was being a follower. I was drinking, and I never really liked drinking. I was a follower, doing things that I know weren’t me and — I don’t know, man.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china
“I really had to find myself.”
When, years later, Harold became one of the 49ers who knelt along with Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid to raise awareness about social injustice and protest for change, he received hate mail in which hundreds of people called him racial slurs. He handled all of it — because after what he had been through, that was nothing. Words slid off of him. He built his shell. He knew real loss, real pain.nfl cheap jerseys nike
While not clinically diagnosed, Harold said he dealt with depression throughout his freshman year and part of his sophomore year due to the two deaths that he never really understood how to mourn. By sharing the story of his battle with mental health for the first time, he is hoping it might help others open up with what they might be going through.
“Of course, and just like men, we’re taught to be alpha males, you know what I’m saying. I feel like it helps,” Harold said. “When [the NBA’s] DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love had spoken out about it, I felt like a lot of guys, a lot of professional athletes, took a deep breath and a sigh of relief, because they didn’t want to be that first guy to open up about it.
“And no one really ever wants to be the first to do something. Not saying that you are a follower but that it opened up a gate for other grown men to express their feelings about the situation.”