• Jotham Busfield, LICSW

DeMar DeRozan + Depression

This episode of the Grim Drive Podcast, where we explore mental health through the lens of professional sports and athletes, takes a look at DeMar DeRozan + Depression. You can access the episode here:


Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/grim-drive/id1546511204?i=1000503565211

Spotify: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/grim-drive/id1546511204?i=1000503565211

Youtube: https://youtu.be/JIB_sLo-0_4


Depression affects 17.3 million adults in the US alone, or 7.1% of the population. This percentage is even higher among those ages 18-25, at 13.1%. DeMar DeRozan, a superstar basketball player in the NBA, is one of those 17.3 million.


For those who have experienced depression, is it often one of the hardest things they will ever have to deal with. And yet, many still do not understand how severe this issue is or how difficult it can be to ensure. To those who have never experienced a migraine headache, it is often viewed as “just a headache.” But to those who have experienced it, these things are nowhere near comparable. Depression, similarly, is often viewed as “sadness” but this descriptor comes nowhere close to capturing the suffering that usually accompanies depression.


This episode delves into DeMar DeRozan’s experience with depression. We discuss our takeaways from him opening up about mental health, depression as a mental health issue, and strategies for how to combat depression for those who also struggle to overcome this widespread issue.


As a reminder to listeners, please click subscribe on your podcast listening platform and rate+review the podcast if possible, we really appreciate all feedback, so much that we are offering a pair of FREE Celtics tickets to a game in 2021-2022 for one lucky person out of all who write an HONEST review for us in the first three months of 2021. You can enter to win these tickets by taking a screenshot of your review and submitting that through the “contact us” option on our website at GrimDrive.com. The contact us option will ask for your name+email address and will provide you with the option to upload the screenshot file. MAKE SURE you take the screenshot of the review BEFORE you submit it, if you wait until after you submit your review you will no longer be able to see the review to take the screenshot.


DeMar DeRozan related links:

Lupus Canada: https://lupuscanada.org/about-us/celebrity-ambassadors/

Video interview (along with Kevin Love) with Dr. Michael Gervais, psychologist who works with the Seahawks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBeN9WcRKtk

Video interview (along with Michael Phelps) with Taylor Rooks (sports journalist): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuYT9BGroJM

The Globe and Mail Article (4/29/18): https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/basketball/article- how-a-derozan-tweet-sparked-a-mental-health-dialogue/

NBA.com article (2/26/18):

https://www.nba.com/news/demar-derozan-toronto-raptors-opens-about-depression-tweet

Bleacher Report article (2/26/18): https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2761543-demar-derozan-discusses-depression-personal-struggles-were-all-human


Grim Drive Example: Justin Beaver: https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/1337918407287525378


Info on Depression: Data Source: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) - 2017

  • Affects 17.3 million adults in the United States (7.1% of all U.S. adults)

  • Highest among individuals aged 18-25 (13.1%)

  • We would guess those numbers are much higher in 2020

  • Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the US; 2nd leading cause of death among those ages 10-34 (48k suicides in 2018)

  • Over the last 20 years, the rate of suicide has increased 35%

  • Rate of suicide for males is 3.7x higher than females

Depression (DSM-V): ***Jargon Free

  • 5+ of the following:

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day (sad/empty/hopeless)

  • Reduced interest in activities

  • Significant weight changes (gain or loss not related to dieting)

  • Sleep issues

  • Slower movement/thinking

  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt

  • Recurrent thoughts of death (passive/active SI)


Some of our suggestions for those struggling with Depression:


Reducing Depression: Quick Tips

  • Depression is NOT you, you are not your depression (view as external force)

  • Understand that the scale of change when depressed is small…respect that and give yourself credit for changes made

  • Be aware of the key difference between feeling run down and tired when SICK physically, vs. feeling those symptoms due to depression (when sick, you need rest; when depression, you NEED to get active)

  • Talk to someone (part of getting better is making sure you’re not getting worse)

  • VALIDATION needed

  • Focus on self…to a point

  • Initially, this is good

  • At times, too much focus on self can backfire (like looking in a mirror too often)

  • Instead, focus on helping others too (DeMar alludes to empowerment through helping others)


CBT: Behavioral ACTIVATION (easier to start with behavior change)


***Behaviors can be ACTIVE or PASSIVE (active = exercise / passive = avoidance/isolation

***We want to remove unhealthy behaviors, and implement as many healthy behaviors as we can


  • Exercise (anything that releases endorphins, bodies natural versions of morphine)

  • Set goals that focus on things we can control

  • - Process over product (when it comes to goal setting)

  • - Live on the scale of a day

  • Spend time with trusted friends and family

  • Healthy morning/night routines and prioritizing sleep

  • Mindfulness-based meditation and breathing techniques


CBT: COGNITIVE changes (thoughts)

  • Treat yourself like a best friend

  • “i” vs “me” / self vs. ego / self 1 (actual self) vs. self 2 (internal critic)

  • All synonymous

  • * Learn how to lead the critic, not the other way around

  • Adaptive responses throughout each day

  • Counteract the slant towards negativity

  • Grateful Project/exercise is one example (Tesla effect)


In case you missed our last episode on Kevin Love + Anxiety, you can access that here:


Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/grim-drive/id1546511204?i=1000503565213

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/16aiNfBamvAv4YBHpzcC98?si=JfX1-dfMTSyf7avfAaBwOQ

Youtube: https://youtu.be/G1-al5AQyFg


Our next episode is on Serena Williams + Anger:


Apple: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/grim-drive/id1546511204#episodeGuid=https%3A%2F%2Fgrimdrive.com%2F%3Fp%3D557

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4LMkfLO8Y2JlUj4WRn5Hxi?si=gVoRFFR9QMmgGGSxr4-OWQ

Youtube: https://youtu.be/a-bGeZ65zck

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