Former Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons opted out of last season in September, one of several to do so amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, months later, Simmons revealed that he was dealing with a bout of depression and thoughts of suicide — which is why he decided he needed to step away from the game with just a week left in the regular season.
“Now, seeing how more and more people are struggling with depression, anxiety and suicide, I felt it might be time to share a little piece of my story,” Simmons told the OC Register in a series of Twitter messages. “I was afraid of people judging and people twisting my story.”
Simmons opted out of season amid depression bout
Though Simmons’ decision wasn’t unique, he made it at the very end of the season with seemingly no warning.
The 31-year-old, who was in his fifth and final season with the Angels last year, struggled to focus on the game amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“First time was driving through Oakland and seeing some of the shops and restaurants trying to stay open with all the homeless people camping outside,” Simmons wrote. “That’s when it really hit me.”
Then, as the team entered a bubble during the final stretch of the season — something the league did to try and keep players safe and healthy before the playoffs — Simmons just couldn’t take it anymore.
“I was really saddened by how much I was hearing about the death toll, and seeing how smaller businesses were going out of business and I was a little depressed at how the effects of all the new rules and fears were gonna affect people’s livelihoods and how disconnected people were becoming,” Simmons wrote.
Simmons said he had been dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts since he was a kid.
“It was tough for me mentally to where the thought of suicide crossed my mind,” Simmons wrote. “It was something I vowed a long time ago I would never consider again. I was fortunate to talk to a therapist, which helped me let go of those thoughts. At the end when a lot of people were still going through what most would think of as tough times, the idea of finishing the season in a bubble was too much for me to handle.”
Simmons, a four-time Gold Glove winner, signed a one-year, $10.5 million deal with the Minnesota Twins last month.
Though he said he was nervous of being judged and putting himself out there with something so personal, Simmons said he realized that his story could actually help people — which is why he felt it was finally time to share it.
“There’s a lot of people out there that are going through stressful times,” Simmons wrote. “For different types of reasons. Which brings a lot of fear or anxiety. And I know there’s the fear of seeking help/assistance because of the perception of people thinking there’s something wrong with you, but I think in reality there are way more people than you might think that are going tough stressful stuff, which can come in different ways: Fear, loss, trauma, problems with loved ones.
“You’re not alone. You don’t have to keep everything bottled up. Find someone that can help you express your emotions freely and that can assist you with it.”
More from Yahoo Sports: