Lewis Page is finding strength from others as he faces depression head on
Lewis Page is finding strength from others as he faces depression head on.
Lewis Page has been the guy on the other end of the phone hundreds of times helping a friend, a colleague or one of his players.
However, being the one to reach out and ask for help didn’t come easy for the UPEI Panthers men’s soccer coach, who has dealt with depression for years.
“My sprit knew it, my gut knew it, but my mind wasn’t ready to accept it,” he said.
But when his marriage started to fail, Page said, he needed to be honest with himself.
“The depression isn’t a cause of my marriage breaking up, but it was a catalyst for me saying I have more going on here,” he said. “For years, my ex-wife tried to convince me there was more going on, and I just couldn’t listen.”
Living in the now was tough for Page.
“Part of depression is you do get lost in your own head,” he explained. “You can get lost in the past and you can get caught up in the future and you lose the present moment.”
He can look back now and see patterns of his depression: a feeling of helplessness; withdrawing from family, friends and people who cared about him; wanting to stay in bed.
But it would end, and Page would continue on with his life thinking everything was fine.
His depression was not triggered by specific events and came on slowly.
“It’s not like something hits you. It’s more something that kind of takes over like a gradual fog,” he explained. “All of a sudden you’re waking up in the morning and you’re going, ‘I don’t really know that guy in the mirror anymore.’ “
But things are improving for the father of two.
About a year ago he reached out to friends and has started getting help.
“One of the things that is so important is you don’t have to do it all alone,” Page said. “You have friends, you have professionals who are trained to help.”
He remembers watching a Bell Let’s Talk show on TV a year ago and realizing similarities from what others were describing and what he was going through.
Recently, he thought about reaching out to Bell officials to share his story.
As fate would have it, an email arrived from the Panthers athletics department the next day asking coaches if there were athletes who would be willing to share their experience as part of an Atlantic University Sport project with Bell.
Page shared his story on an online video.
There were feelings of vulnerability for Page. He described it like being on a tightrope with no safety net.
Would people see it a weakness of the well-known coach?
The fear was real, but the response was overwhelmingly the opposite.
“I’ve been so blessed by so much love and support from so many people,” he said.
The Montreal-born Page, who spent his teenage years in Nova Scotia, was on the under-20 national team for a season, played five years at Saint Mary’s and a year professionally with the Nova Scotia Clippers.
He has coached the Panthers, provincial teams and had a run on the sidelines with national teams.
Depression can’t strike anyone.
“This is something real that anybody can go through,” Page said. “If a successful coach can go through it and get help and heal, then so can anybody.”
UPEI Panthers men’s soccer team head coach Lewis Page is speaking out about his own depression.