Holdsclaw was in 'mental prison' after arrest last year

Last year's arrest led to proper diagnosis

Former WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist Chamique Holdsclaw autographs the shirt of Lily Maggart, 7, after a youth basketball clinic Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Hendersonville, Tenn. Holdsclaw said she's getting her life back in order after a few months that felt like a 'mental prison' after an arrest last November. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Former WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist Chamique Holdsclaw autographs the shirt of Lily Maggart, 7, after a youth basketball clinic Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Hendersonville, Tenn. Holdsclaw said she's getting her life back in order after a few months that felt like a "mental prison" after an arrest last November. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

HENDERSONVILLE — Chamique Holdsclaw is getting her life back in order after being trapped in what felt like a “mental prison” following her arrest last November.

The former WNBA star, Olympic gold medalist and Tennessee All-American was treated for depression until being diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder after breaking the car windows of WNBA player Jennifer Lacy with a bat and firing a shot into the vehicle. Lacy told police she was Holdsclaw’s ex-girlfriend.

Holdsclaw pleaded guilty in June to aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and other charges resulting in three years’ probation and a $3,000 fine.

“It’s been like a mental prison because it was real uncharacteristic of me,” Holdsclaw said Tuesday while sitting on the floor of the gym at Beech High School after helping host a youth basketball camp with another former Lady Vol, Brittany Jackson. “It was real uncharacteristic of me and everybody judging me from every different angle.”

But Holdsclaw said her attorneys helped her work with a forensic psychologist who combed through her medical records dating back to 2002 when she was diagnosed with clinical depression and worked with a psychiatrist. Holdsclaw said they realized that while she has signs of depression she really had bipolar 2 disorder with high levels of irritability and impulsiveness, which is challenging to diagnose.

“I was angry,” Holdsclaw said. “I’m like, ‘Come on.’ I’ve been going through this pretty much since I was a young kid. I’ve been on medications trying different things since 2002, and you tell me it takes a situation like this for people to really look at it and get the right medications.”

She’s not angry anymore.

Jackson, who runs her

own basketball academy with camps nationwide, recently worked with the four-time All-American at a camp near Chattanooga. On Tuesday, Holdsclaw helped run boys and girls through a variety of drills at the camp outside Nashville before posing for photos with campers and parents afterward. She also signed lots of autographs.

“Hopefully, this is just the beginning of many more” camps, Jackson said.

A relaxed Holdsclaw seems up for the challenge. She smiled as she talked at ease about her problems after making the four-hour drive from Atlanta to help with the two-day camp.

Following the arrest, Holdsclaw had to deal with the courts and legal system for the first time in her life. She spent a night in jail and later woke up several times in a cold sweat. She even wore an ankle bracelet for a few months monitoring her travel, which prompted her to ask for private searches when going through security at airports. She even had to check in from the parking lot before attending a Lady Vols game at South Carolina last winter in her first public appearance after the arrest.

Holdsclaw said she was welcomed by a “sea of orange” with fans telling her they were praying for her.

“I hate that this situation occurred,” Holdsclaw said. “I feel like I’ve hurt my family and also the victim’s family, but it’s been a great thing in helping me move forward. Now I’m on the right medication. I’ve been able to get the right treatment, and it’s really improved my quality of life night and day.”

Holdsclaw now takes the antidepressant medication Wellbutrin each morning after it was previously prescribed for night-time use. She’s also in therapy once a week, even using the phone when traveling. Holdsclaw said it’s all part of keeping to a schedule necessary for someone dealing with bipolar 2 disorder.

She runs an average of 32 miles a week, works with her foundation and travels to promote awareness of mental health issues. She still plays basketball a few times each week, and a couple of European teams have reached out to her agent. For now, she’s fine with not playing basketball.

“I knew that I had to take care of myself,” Holdsclaw said. “That’s my first priority right now, even though I love the game.”

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Comments » 16

Giverny writes:

I was on campus when Summitt first arrived and I quickly became a fan. I was a season ticket holder for over 30 years. To this day Holdsclaw remains my favorite player. With that said I've been over all her drama for several years now...

I could list endless examples and adjectives to describe them but that would serve little purpose.

I'm not smart enough to know why she is the way she is, but I grew tired of all the whining, one thing and then another.... the victim mentality

volnsc writes:

She gave it all for the Orange and still does. I will always be in her corner pulling for her. She was and is one of my all time favorite Lady Vols. You go girl.

ColdBlackWind writes:

Role model?

bUTch_please writes:

in response to Giverny:

I was on campus when Summitt first arrived and I quickly became a fan. I was a season ticket holder for over 30 years. To this day Holdsclaw remains my favorite player. With that said I've been over all her drama for several years now...

I could list endless examples and adjectives to describe them but that would serve little purpose.

I'm not smart enough to know why she is the way she is, but I grew tired of all the whining, one thing and then another.... the victim mentality

No truer words...victim mentality. Notice how it reeks out of her description of the help she received. Basically "It took those people too long to help me control myself. I had no control but to act like an idiot...after all...I bear no responsibility for myself or my actions. Look, see how long it was their fault, my whole life they've messed it up. Poor me!"

Like the old saying goes, pull up your big girl panties and git with it.

johnlg00 writes:

Yeah, where is a good insane asylum when you need one? You know, the kind with chains on the walls and pressure hoses to calm her down. That'll show her what happens when she lets Satan into her life! Or maybe she just needs a good long stretch in the pen. Yeah, that'll fix her! <Sarcasm mode off>

vol98champ writes:

I don't understand depression, but without a doubt it is real. Thank God she didn't kill herself or her friend. Hope the meds are the answer. Also, thank God I'm a happy camper.

GOJO writes:

in response to bUTch_please:

No truer words...victim mentality. Notice how it reeks out of her description of the help she received. Basically "It took those people too long to help me control myself. I had no control but to act like an idiot...after all...I bear no responsibility for myself or my actions. Look, see how long it was their fault, my whole life they've messed it up. Poor me!"

Like the old saying goes, pull up your big girl panties and git with it.

Unless you have been through it, don't knock the ones that have.
It appears she is on the right road now. The demons will always be around to be kept at bay.
She laid it all on the line for the Orange & White, & I, for one, immensely enjoyed seeing her play.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to bUTch_please:

No truer words...victim mentality. Notice how it reeks out of her description of the help she received. Basically "It took those people too long to help me control myself. I had no control but to act like an idiot...after all...I bear no responsibility for myself or my actions. Look, see how long it was their fault, my whole life they've messed it up. Poor me!"

Like the old saying goes, pull up your big girl panties and git with it.

Sorry you too don't know what you are talking about in the least. Unless you have mental illness and especially bipolar, you have no clue as to what they are dealing with on a daily basis.

For you, you may get depressed over the loss of a loved one, but that feeling will go away eventually, for them that's every day. Meds only do so much. My wife has depression so I know what I am talking about. She tells me constantly that she feels like someone just died.

Bipolar is it's own demon which causes people to go to the extremes in emotions at the drop of a hat. Meds do help as does therapy but they are not cures.

Shame on you too for your cold, callous attitudes towards Chamique or anyone else who suffers from mental illness.

You wouldn't do that for someone battling cancer, why do that for her.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to ColdBlackWind:

Role model?

She's one of the best. What are you doing to help young kids? Are you an advocate for a disease? Are you helping to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for millions who suffer from mental illness? Are you perfect? Have you not made mistakes? At least she is dealing with hers and unlike you, she doesn't have the priviledge of dealing with her mistakes in private.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to Giverny:

I was on campus when Summitt first arrived and I quickly became a fan. I was a season ticket holder for over 30 years. To this day Holdsclaw remains my favorite player. With that said I've been over all her drama for several years now...

I could list endless examples and adjectives to describe them but that would serve little purpose.

I'm not smart enough to know why she is the way she is, but I grew tired of all the whining, one thing and then another.... the victim mentality

Time for you to educate yourself and realize what a stupid comment you left today. Hopefully you never have to deal with mental illness, but if you do, I hope you get more grace and mercy than you gave today.

SummittsCourt writes:

in response to volnsc:

She gave it all for the Orange and still does. I will always be in her corner pulling for her. She was and is one of my all time favorite Lady Vols. You go girl.

Well said!

865fan writes:

You go Summitts Court!
My brother has depression. We grew up in a great family with both parents, plenty of money, good schools and churches. Really couldn't have been better! He had the best medical care since he was in his teens. He was in his late 30s before he finally got diagnosed correctly and got the right meds. With Chamique's childhood and poorfinancial resources, she got no help till she came to TN. That help wasn't an instant fix and she has spent several years without getting on the right meds. Yes she messed up big time when she lost it in Atlanta. But instead of crawling in a hole she is facing everything in a very public spotlight and moving forward wit her life. And, trying to be honest and help others along the way.

Snapshot writes:

in response to Giverny:

I was on campus when Summitt first arrived and I quickly became a fan. I was a season ticket holder for over 30 years. To this day Holdsclaw remains my favorite player. With that said I've been over all her drama for several years now...

I could list endless examples and adjectives to describe them but that would serve little purpose.

I'm not smart enough to know why she is the way she is, but I grew tired of all the whining, one thing and then another.... the victim mentality

Your last paragraph sums it up well, "I'm not smart enough to know why she is the way she is." Then why not give her the benefit of the doubt that she has a legitimate illness?

bUTch_please writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Sorry you too don't know what you are talking about in the least. Unless you have mental illness and especially bipolar, you have no clue as to what they are dealing with on a daily basis.

For you, you may get depressed over the loss of a loved one, but that feeling will go away eventually, for them that's every day. Meds only do so much. My wife has depression so I know what I am talking about. She tells me constantly that she feels like someone just died.

Bipolar is it's own demon which causes people to go to the extremes in emotions at the drop of a hat. Meds do help as does therapy but they are not cures.

Shame on you too for your cold, callous attitudes towards Chamique or anyone else who suffers from mental illness.

You wouldn't do that for someone battling cancer, why do that for her.

Bi-polar is not a demon. Demons do not exist. People create through choices. Illness included. People also choose how they react to an illness. Whenever a person accepts responsibility for that which they have created in their life, at that exact instant, they are enabled to change it.

I've seen this up close and personal. Time and again. Shame on you for fostering the acceptance that people are victims of that which is outside of them instead of promoting the awareness that their thoughts and emotions and actions are completely within their power to control.

Bi-polar is a label to an emotional condition that can be moderated through personal acceptance, personal knowledge and focus. Allowing those who reside in that condition off the hook by blaming "demons" is the greatest disservice of all.

By the way...you can have cancer and die in fear. Or cancer and live in hope. Choice. Many cancer patients have recovered, to the surprise of every physician in their service, by choosing the latter.

madrigal writes:

I sincerely hope some of you never have to deal with mental illness in yourselves or your family members, because you don't have the first clue. Mental illness is not an "emotional condition" that someone can just "snap themselves out of" with what you refer to as a "personal acceptance, personal knowledge and focus." Mental illness is as real as cancer or heart disease and requires just as much care in determining proper therapies *including* medication and therapy. Just as you would not use the same treatments on leukemia as you would on, say colon cancer, you don't use the same treatment methodology on people with different mental disorders. Even within the same family of drugs there are differences, which is why one may work well for some people and be a complete poison for others. I have a brother who has had a lifelong battle with both depression and chronic migraine and he tells me that when his doctors finally hit on the proper combination of medications, it was like being able to breathe again. And oh, by the way, he's a doctor, are you going to tell me he doesn't know what he's talking about?

Are you aware that the biochemical makeup that can lead to mental illness has a strong hereditary component? And are you aware that (this is not a secret, she has talked about it herself) Chamique's father is a *diagnosed* schizophrenic? If a person already has the genetic tendency, and has enough stressors in their life to affect the brain chemicals that can exacerbate that tendency, it is not surprising if they develop a mental illness. I am happy for Chamique that she is finally getting the treatment that is right for her, because I know how long it can take.

A couple of you insist on being ignorant, insensitive jerks. I REALLY hope no one in your family ever suffers from mental illness, because I'm sure your "positive reinforcement" would be just the treatment they need....NOT.

bUTch_please writes:

in response to SAMA_BUCKS:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Children born with autism, downs, severe neurological complications chose to come from non-physical into that physical condition to teach us unconditional love. It is your projection that their life experience is sub-par only because you are comparing it to yours. It is also a disservice to them to judge them only by their ability to conform to the actions and behaviors that make you feel better. But they are each and every one a perfect creation from the God of unconditional love.

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