Johnny Manziel says he’s taking medication to deal with bipolar disorder and dealing with his mental issues are his top priority.
Manziel gave an interview to ABC’s Good Morning America which was broadcast on Monday morning. In it, Manziel says he was diagnosed as bipolar sometime last spring during a visit to an unspecified California facility.
People with bipolar disorder experience episodes of depression and mania which can significantly impact their behaviour.
“At the end of the day, I can’t help that my wires are a little bit different and crossed than yours. I can’t help my mental make up of the way that I was created. But I know that if I stay on these meds and I continue to do what I’m doing right now, I think my Dad, I think my Mom, I think Bre would all agree that they’ve seen a drastic change,” Manziel said. “Now, the question that you asked was ‘is that sustainable and will that be the case moving forward?’ I would like to sit here and say ‘yes’ and I have a lot of confidence that would be the case. But at the end of the day, it’s to be seen. I’m still moving forward, I’m still doing the little things that I have to do on a daily basis to try and keep [his head] right over anything else. The main thing to me is not physical health, it’s mental.”
Manziel’s party lifestyle was well-documented and it ultimately led to his release from the Cleveland Browns, who drafted him in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft after a hugely successful run at Texas A&M which included a Heisman Trophy in his rookie season.
“I had a sense of entitlement about what I’d accomplished at the age I’d accomplished it and I got so ingrained in caring about what Johnny wanted. Even when I was doing what I wanted, I was miserable,” Manziel said. “I was self-medicating with alcohol. That’s what I thought was making me happy, helping me get out that desperation to the point of where I felt that I had some sense of happiness. But at the end of the day, when you wake up the next day after a night like that, or after going on a trip like that, and you wake up the next day and that’s all gone and that liquid courage and that sense of euphoria that’s over you is all gone and you’re left staring at the ceiling by yourself and you’re back in that depression and back in that hole, that dark hole of sitting in a room by yourself being super depressed, thinking about all the mistakes you’ve made in your life. What did that get me? What did that get me except out of the NFL? Where did that get me, disgraced?”
Manziel said he is not currently drinking.
“I went a solid five months until I really fell back into a depression where I didn’t drink, I didn’t do anything but still, I was going to therapy,” he said. “The difference that I know this year is that I started taking a look at my mental health a little bit and making it a priority in my life to where I’m taking medication for bipolar and I’m working to try and make sure that I don’t fall back into any type of depression because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me.”
Manziel said one of the turning points came when he saw what his drinking was doing to his family, including his mom.
“You don’t understand when people come up to us like ‘what the hell is your son doing’ And I didn’t really feel that until my mom said that. She just broke down, she was crying and I saw the trickle-down effects of what I was doing in my daily life that were meaningless and pointless and selfish,” he said. “Watching others guys doing what I want to be doing and I’m sitting on the couch being a loser.”
Manziel did not directly address coming to the CFL – the Hamilton Tiger-Cats own his neg list rights – and said that getting back to the NFL is the ultimate goal.
“I’m coming back from a huge downfall to try and make – I don’t know what kind of comeback it will be,” he said. “But I know that I want to get back on the football field and do what brought me so much joy in my life and makes me happy doing as my job.”