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St. Louis native broadcaster opens up about suicide and depression, hoping his story can help others

Broadcaster Rob Fischer seemed to have the ideal life. But depression came for him, and nearly took his life. Now he wants to help others out of the same struggles

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — From the outside looking in, it could be hard to imagine a guy like Rob Fischer suffering from depression.

His life seems idyllic. But depression doesn't discriminate.

Fischer, a St. Louis native, grew up inspired by Jack Buck and Dan Kelly on the radio. He turned that inspiration into a career.

Fischer is the pre- and post-game TV host of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, and is a fan favorite thanks to his colorful commentary and clothing. He lives in Memphis with his wife and two children.

Fischer started to notice something about his mental health on Christmas night in 2014 back in his childhood home of St. Louis.

"I couldn't get my hair right. Something that simple. Just couldn't get my hair to lay right. And I got so frustrated, I was yelling at myself in the mirror. I was cursing myself. I was pulling my hair out. And I finally turned around and punched a hole in my mother's bathroom wall," Fischer said.

He got help and continued his career, but it didn't go away.

In May of 2018, Fischer seriously thought about ending his life.

"To the point of how I was going to do it," Fischer said about his mental state at the time. "How could I do it where my wife could still financially be OK, and get insurance money? How could I do it to where my children couldn't find me or see me?"

His friends saved his life that night, but how could a man who seemingly had it all go down that path in the first place?

"The molecules that help your brain function... The cells talk to each other and essentially have energy and be a brain that is active. These molecules are less available to you. So it's a depression of your mood. It's a depression of your energy," Washington University professor Anne Glowinski said.

Now, because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fischer thought it was time to share his story in the hopes of helping others.

"Everyone being isolated and having to stay home... When you suffer from depression, being alone is the worst thing for you. And I know a lot of people are alone at this time. So I felt like this was the right time to speak out and let others know that they're not alone and that there are a lot of people that feel this way. And to talk about it can make it so much better," Fischer said.

But Fischer knows his own battle is far from over, and he knows he has to be vigilant when it comes to preserving his mental health.

"The bad days that I have, most of the time I can talk myself into that this is depression, tomorrow will be better, and it passes. But that's what I thought prior to the worst day I ever had. So yeah, what if I have one of those days again? It's really scary," Fischer said.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to talk to someone at 800-273-8255.

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