Featured WAG: Morgan Corbitt

Meet Morgan Corbitt, the beautiful girlfriend of New York Giants linebacker J.T. Thomas III. Morgan is a future Psychologist currently completing her dissertation, and a mental health advocate! The World Health Organization recognizes health to encompass "complete physical, mental, and social well-being". More often than not, when someone says the word healthy, we as a society immediately think frequency of exercise, nutritional foods, and a toned or muscular physique. Morgan reached out to me because she felt it was important to share her story and a story rarely told: mental illness can affect anyone...even YOU! I admire her realness and ability to be vulnerable. Read the enlightening interview below...

Name: Morgan Corbitt

Partner: J.T. Thomas III

League and Team: NFL - linebacker for the New York Giants

Education/Occupation: graduated from Spelman, currently working on dissertation in Clinical Psychology at Adler University (Psy. D)

Favorite Brands: LV, Chanel                                                      

Many people don’t know that I ___: I’m super sensitive and I have a black belt in Taekwondo.

 

1 in 5 people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
— National Alliance on Mental Illness

Where are you from? Tell us about your journey.

I’m from Indianapolis, Indiana. I left home and moved to Atlanta to attend Spelman College. After I graduated college, I moved to Chicago and started my doctoral program. It was a hard transition to graduate from undergrad and still be in that student phase (as a grad student) while many of my former classmates already have jobs in corporate America. I’ve still been working externships but without the resources of a full time job.

What’s your love story? How did you and JT meet?

The weekend before I started grad school, I went out with one of my friends from Spelman. We went to a nightclub in Chicago called Hearts and J.T. approached my friend and I before we went in. Ever since then, we've talked and our relationship developed from there. He was playing for the Chicago Bears at the time but got traded less than a year after we met. The next three years it was difficult to balance being away from him and be in a serious, long distance relationship. I always said if we can make it until I finish school, I think we’ll be good to go. Now we live together in New Jersey. 

How has the transition been from long distance relationship to moving in together?

The majority of our relationship was long distance before I made the decision to move here. I was never really able to experience the WAG lifestyle before because I was always in and out. Coming to New Jersey has been amazing. I love being together every single day but it doesn't come without sacrifice. Since I'm currently finishing my dissertation, it would have been easier for me to be in Chicago around people who could support me in that. My dissertation has been the most difficult thing I've ever done for school. J.T. also recently had surgery for a football-related injury. When we moved in to our apartment, he couldn’t really walk so I was forced to do a lot by myself. It kind of all happened at once: I was taking care of him, moving boxes, and trying to get a handle on the transition. 

I can imagine the stress! May is Mental Health Awareness month. Tell us about your experience with mental illness.

In college, I started feeling symptoms of depression for the first time. I never told anyone, not even my closest friends. 

I couldn’t understand why.

If you looked at my life from the outside, there would be no reason for me to be depressed. I thought it was embarrassing. I didn’t want to talk about it because I couldn’t explain it. I sort of pushed through my feelings during undergrad. I ended up telling my mom, and she already knew that something was wrong. I remember there would be times I would call her and just cry. I felt so lonely and sad. By the time I got to grad school, I felt more pressure and stress than I ever had. Personally, I was growing so much and I had this intense relationship where I was really in love for the first time. I was trying to figure out myself as a person and a therapist--I started to fall back into episodes of depression again.

L to R: Morgan pictured with her sisters and mom

L to R: Morgan pictured with her sisters and mom

The field I’m in (Clinical Psychology), I feel really competent and do really well with my patients in therapy. Because of this, I felt almost as if I wasn’t allowed to feel depressed. Like, "I’m not supposed to be depressed, I’m the therapist."

But...I’m human too.

I have a tendency for perfectionism and don’t allow myself to feel certain things. I came to the realization one day that I needed to be more comfortable discussing my experiences. Sometimes I do have unexplainable sadness or crying, or I feel lonely even when other people are around me. The key is finding the right people to talk to, but you just don’t know who’s going to understand. Especially in the black community. We [African Americans] tend to say, "Oh, just shake it off," or "pray it off" without fully understanding the problem. 

Prayer is one of my #1 coping mechanisms. I also adopted journaling the last two years and that has helped me more than anything. I realize that feelings that have become bottled up make me feel very anxious, but when I write down everything I’m feeling, it’s a huge release!

Is there anything else you want people to know about you?

The main reason I reached out to you is because I don’t want to be viewed on a pedestal. I want people to see me in a different light, as a human being, and a regular woman. I know at least one woman will see this article and relate to it and I want her to know it doesn’t matter what you do, how strong you are, what kind of occupation you have, it’s still okay to be depressed. There’s things you can do, there are resources. I wish I would have had someone back then to tell me that. It doesn’t matter how perfect you look, what your body or hair looks like, mental illness can affect anyone. 

What are some of the signs of depression?

  • Sadness or loneliness
  • Sleeping too much or not at all
  • Lack of energy
  • Not wanting to do the things you used to do
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritable/easily aggravated
  • Significant weight gain or weight loss

What are some coping skills for depression?

  •  Exercise, Yoga
  • Relaxation techniques, Meditation, and Deep breathing
  •  Journal or Track thoughts by writing them down
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and drugs
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Maintain and utilize supportive relationships
  • Get enough rest
  • Spirituality (Prayer, etc)
  •  Engage in pleasurable activities (Dancing, laughing, singing, etc, whatever makes you happy)
  • Ask for help. Seek a psychologist, therapist, or mental health professional

Additional Resources:

1. A link with a list and small description of relaxation techniques

http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/relaxation-techniques 

 

2. 6 Depressive Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/depression-symptoms-you-shouldnt-ignore/

 

3. Perfectionism and Depression

http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/being-a-perfectionist-can-make-you-depressed.aspx

 

4. How to Get Help and FAQs about insurance

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/health-insurance/index.html