Johnny Manziel has revealed he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder roughly a year ago and says he’s been using his two years away from football to take care of himself off the field.
"I am taking medication for bipolar, and I am working to try to make sure I don’t fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me," Manziel said to T.J. Holmes of ABC News.
The former Heisman Trophy winner said it took a conversation with his mother where she “just broke down” for him to realize he had a problem. Manziel’s mother confronted him over an ongoing issue of people criticizing his public image of being a frequent partyer and heavy drinker.
"I was self-medicating with alcohol. That’s what I thought would make me happy and get out of that depression," Manziel said.
"You are left staring at the ceiling by yourself, and in that depression and back in that hole, that dark hole of sitting in a room by yourself, super depressed, thinking about all the mistakes you made in your life. What did that get me? Where did that get me except out of the NFL? Where did that get me? Disgraced?"
The Cleveland Browns' 22nd overall pick in 2014, Manziel played just two NFL seasons, making his last start Dec. 27, 2015. He has career stats of 1,675 passing yards and seven touchdowns, with another 230 yards and a score coming on the ground.
As he battles his mental health issues, Manziel said it hasn’t been easy being out of the NFL and watching others do what he still wants for himself.
"I am watching all the other guys doing what I want to be doing, and I am sitting on a couch being a loser," he said.
Now clean and sober, the 25-year-old has been training and working on a contract with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He remains committed to a comeback he hopes ends with his ultimate goal of getting back to the NFL.
"I am coming back from a huge downfall," said Manziel. "I don’t know what kind of comeback it will be, but I know I want to get back on a football field, to what brought me so much joy in my life.”