My friend Dale Clifford, a staff writer with the Peterborough Examiner, wrote the following story which appeared in today's paper.
Former Blue Jays, Petes chaplain talks about his depression...
To see David Fisher and talk with him, you would think everything is right in his world; and he is going in the direction he wants.
It hasn't been that way, though.
For as long as Fisher can remember, dating back to when he was a teenager in high school, the soft-spoken 65-year-old Peterborough native has been battling depression.
Speaking from his Division Rd. home Monday, he spoke of his on and off battles for most of his life but how it had became worse over the past seven years when a significant number of losses piled up and for which he is taking treatment.
The particularly difficult period began when he left the Toronto Blue Jays after 29 years as their baseball chaplain and ended when he left the Peterborough Petes after 14 years in a similar role last OHL season.
There were other things in between including hard times which affected the family business Fisher Gauge and Fishercast, which became Dynacast; the sale of their home and moving into another and giving up his office in downtown Peterborough.
He spoke at length of these times and other issues and how they deeply affected him. He talked openly and freely.
It raised the question why bring it into the open publicly and why now?
"For years, there was a stigma attached and it was something not talked about," he said. "People struggled with that. I wanted to talk about it because I wanted to erase that stigma. I wasn't afraid to discuss it and if it could help someone else by my talking about it, it was worth it. I didn't want to hide anymore and wanted to help others."
While every loss had an impact, perhaps the biggest, he said, was leaving the Jays, which he did for his own reasons. Fisher, a devout Christian, founded Epistle Sports Ministries in 1975, which was a letter-writing ministry of encouragement to professional athletes in all the major sports.
"When I walked away from the Blue Jays, I lost my identity. It was my life, my livelihood," he said. "It was what I did and something I loved. Now, there were no calls, no speaking engagements. Leaving the Petes was a huge loss as well. I wanted to return this year but couldn't do it. I really loved being with them because they were a local team and they were good to me."
Tim Coles of Kawartha Youth For Christ has taken over the role of Petes chaplain.
"Losing the family business was hard because we were struggling and it was a question of integrity," he said. "It had been in the family since 1942. We were well established but we had to sell it. Selling our home in Cavan two years ago was a huge loss. We were there for 14 years but were struggling. When I gave up my office, I lost my safe place. I no longer had a place to work out of."
Earlier in his life, he suffered another loss when he sold his Ambassador Bible Book Store, which he had for 15 years, for personal reasons in the mid- 1980s.
Throughout his struggles, Fisher said he has never lost his faith. He has drawn inspiration from others such as Canada's Joey Votto, who won the National League most valuable player award and battles depression, and authors Scott Simmie and Julia Nunes who wrote the book The Last Taboo: A Survival Guide to Mental Health Care in Canada, writing openly about the topic and addressing it.
"There is a myth out there that Christians shouldn't be depressed because they have a relationship with God," said Fisher. "We have battles and struggles like anyone else. My faith has helped me survive the losses and the Bible is strength for me. Job (in the Bible) lost a lot but still had his faith."
Something that has helped Fisher is the co-founding with his wife Carol of the Kawartha Komets Hockey Club, a team comprising adults and children with special needs.
"It has been therapeutic and so rewarding," said David. "We have 40 players and they have their own struggles."
He is also working on his own book entitled 43, in reference to the 29 years with the Blue Jays and 14 with the Petes.
"It will be about unforgettable seasons and feature unique stories," he said.
And we all know, he isn't afraid of speaking out.
For more information, email Fisher at email@example.com