Comcast Sportsnet New England Anchor/Reporter Trenni Kusnierek is opening up about her battle with depression.
Kusnierek says that for the past 15 years, she has dealt with sometimes debilitating mental health issues in the form of chronic depression and anxiety.
The Boston Globe writes that Kusnierek is hardly alone in her struggle, a fact often difficult for everyone, be they healthy or otherwise, to understand. What separates Kusnierek is her willingness to talk about it, openly and intelligently and optimistically. She’ll tell you something’s not right in her head.
“My anxiety never goes away,’’ she said. “I also have depressive episodes sometimes, particularly in the winter. As I’ve gotten older, my anxiety’s actually gotten worse.’’
She says that with a smile. Not that she finds any of it comical or encouraging. Most of all, she said, it is exhausting. But she has come to accept that anxiety is simply her state of things, her existence. In a business so fixated on appearance and image, especially so for a woman, she decided four years ago she wouldn’t live a life reaching for a makeup kit to powder over her psychological challenges. The suicide of former NFL great Junior Seau proved her call to action.
“I’d only met Junior once or twice, and only in those brief stick-a-mic-into-the-interview setting,’’ she recalled. “But for whatever reason, I think maybe because he was a player I’d watched growing up . . . I’d seen him play, and he was a relative age to me. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this person felt so terrible and he was so in the depth of his disease that he died from it.’ And we don’t talk about it.’’
About the same time, just weeks before she arrived at Comcast in September 2012, a lengthy profile on Kusnierek was about to run in her hometown “Milwaukee Magazine.” The story’s deadline approaching, she dialed the author in hopes to add something.
“Do you mind if we talk about my depression?’’ she asked. “I think people should know that they are not alone.’’
She has kept up the conversation, sometimes with a price, always with questions in the back of her head. She can’t help but wonder if being so open one day might impede her career path. Will it influence peers, viewers, work relationships? In the ever-expanding world of social media and instant connectedness, it also attracts its trolls.
“People are mean online,” she noted. “For a long time, no one used it against me. But I’d say in the last year or two, mostly on Twitter, or people in comments sections, oh, I’ve read, ‘She didn’t take her antidepressant today.’ Or, ‘Why don’t you take your crazy pills. Be careful, she’s nuts. She’s actually crazy.’
“And you think, ‘Really . . . now this? . . . this is something they are going to use against me?’ ’’
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