“I was 23, a millionaire and had everything, yet I was never more unhappy in my life,” Williams said. “I felt extremely isolated from my friends and family because I couldn’t explain to them what I was feeling. I had no idea what was wrong with me.”
Williams’ fears escalated at the start of his professional football career for the New Orleans Saints. With high expectations to perform, Williams was thrust into the limelight. Often portrayed by the media as aloof or even weird, he was known for conducting interviews with his helmet on and shying away from fans. He could barely interact with his young daughter or leave his house to do errands. What most didn’t realize is that by simply talking to a reporter, a fan, a member of the community, or even his own family, Williams was struggling with the very root of his problem.
Ricky Williams later learned he was among the more than 15 million Americans who suffer from social anxiety disorder. (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)