Football legend gives back to Soldiers, Family members at Fort Bragg
August 16, 2012
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Fort Bragg Soldiers and Family members got to see a very different side of one of college and pro football's greatest players Friday.
Herschel Walker spent the day not only sharing his story, but also delivering a powerful message to his audience that turning to others for help may have saved his life.
Walker has been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder.
"People ask me all the time what is the best thing to ever happen to me in my life," said Walker. "The best thing is I know the Lord Jesus Christ. The second best thing is I got a beautiful little boy. I love him more than I love myself. The third best thing is I went to a mental hospital to get help."
Walker shared stories about his professional and personal life and emphasized that his greatest challenge has been addressing the stigma attached to mental illness.
"It's important to remove that stigma because it makes people afraid to come forward when they have a problem," said Walker.
"I don't want people to feel like they are less of a person for coming forward. Because by coming forward myself, I'm living proof that you are still somebody even if you need help."
As the crowd laughed, applauded and hung on every word of Walker's stories, the main message was clear -- there is always hope and help for those quietly struggling with mental health issues.
"Apart from the being a diehard Georgia fan, I wanted to come out and get his view on how he overcame mental health issues," said Spc. Justin Pitts, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. "The sooner you get help, the faster you can continue to enjoy life."
As he toured the installation, Walker made sure that his interaction with Soldiers was a personal conversation between the audience and himself.
"Don't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help," said Walker. "That's one thing that I'm really fighting for because people lose hope but there is help out there. I'm living proof that you don't have to give up. You can make it."