College Diver Finds Answer to Defeating Depression
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“I couldn't take it anymore,” said Chase. “And I remember telling one of my roommates at the time, I was like, I truly believed that everybody would be happier if I was gone. And all I could do was look over the ledge there and be like, ‘This is the night I'm gonna do it.’"
That night, Chase Lane’s life changed forever. He had all the accolades and promise a young athlete could hope for, yet Chase wanted to take his own life.
In high school, he was a highly recruited diver, holding offers from some of the country’s best schools. His mother, a Christian, had some strong advice about his college choice.
Chase recalls, “I remember in the recruiting process my mom, she was very vital, some words she said were, ‘I want you to go to a place that I know that coach will take care of you no matter what happens.’"
Chase accepted a scholarship from the University of Kentucky and his excitement was at an all-time high.
“I'm like, let's go,” he says. “I was super excited off the get go.”
However, his enthusiasm was short-lived as the responsibilities of being a student athlete quickly took their toll.
“I got very overwhelmed. My schedule, I was taking 18 credits and, of course, the swimming and diving schedule was just wild. Waking up early in the morning, and then you don't get home until, gosh, like 10 after tutors and everything and then you're doing homework, taking a shower, trying to eat. I got very overwhelmed. So everything at the time I was doing was very anxiety-provoking.”
Kentucky coach, Ted Hautau, a Christian noticed that the freshman was struggling.
Ted says, “I could see something in him. His walk and his demeanor just started to hunch over. And he was dark and he was shuffling and he was limping a little bit. Something happened. He said, ‘I’m in a dark spot right now.’”
“I got lost,” said Chase. “And so that anxiety heightened, and I became very, very depressed. But the go-getter Chase was trying to hide it all. But it was very relevant to my teammates and my peers, my coaches, my mentors at the time, that something was not right.”
In spite of his depression, Chase continued to succeed as a diver. Still, no amount of success made things better. In March of 2018 at the NCAA swimming and diving championships, Chase decided to end it all.
“And all I could do was look over the ledge there and be like, ‘This is the night I'm gonna do it.’"
Coach Ted recalls, “I knew he was in a dark spot. But I didn’t know how serious it was.”
Two things happened. Chase tweeted, "I wish everything was over.” He also called his mother to tell her goodbye.
“I told her, ‘Mom, like, thank you for everything you ever did for me. I love you, but I think there's no purpose for me in this world. I can't do this anymore. Like life is just – it's frustrating. There's no reason for me to be on this earth if I have no purpose.’ And I didn't let her say much and I hung up.”
Chase’s mother, called coach Ted. The coach realized the urgency and quickly reached out to Chase. Coach Ted opened the Bible with Chase and shared God’s love for him.
Ted says, “Jesus is talking about the birds. Look at the birds of the air. They neither reap nor sow. They don’t stow away in barns and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. If God so cares about the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, won’t he care about you?”
Chase was being cared for at college, just like his mother had hoped.
“So this whole Kentucky family that I had was like a father-son duo, the whole time,” says Chase. “And we prayed. And he prayed for me in that room. And, dude, like the whole night I was up, but he was a prayer warrior for me in that moment. That brought me down on my knees and hands, and really confessed that Jesus is Lord and that I needed a relationship with Jesus in order to move forward in my life.”
Chase committed reading God’s word on his own and joined a small group.
“After I dissected those Gospels, I quickly learned that it was a relationship with Christ that I was missing. And I could find hope in that, just like anybody can. Because He died on that cross just for us, so we can have eternity in Heaven. So, that was very eye opening to me of what I was missing. I was like, ‘I need that.’ I was hungry for it.”
Today, Chase is a diving coach and a physical therapist. His desire is to help those struggling with anxiety and depression by sharing the good news he found in a relationship with Christ.
“There's hope in Jesus. It's plain and simple. There's hope in Jesus. He died on that cross for us. There's no greater suffering that you will ever go through, me or you, we will ever go through, or anybody out there, than He did on that cross. I don't believe that depression and anxiety belong in anybody's life. We are not promised a spirit of fear but are promised a spirit of peace. And so that peace, once you find that, you can live your life with frustration and all that stuff, like everything going on in the world. But there's that peace that you can find within all of that. And that's in Jesus.”
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