Chicago Cubs SS Dansby Swanson Relied on Faith as He ‘Battled’ Depression, Anxiety

Photo from Dansby Swanson’s Instagram

Chicago Cubs SS Dansby Swanson Relied on Faith as He ‘Battled’ Depression, Anxiety

By Movieguide® Contributor

Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson joined the “Jesus Calling” podcast to discuss how he relied on God as he struggled with depression and anxiety when he entered the big leagues.

Swanson was the number one pick in the 2015 MLB Draft for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“There’s a lot of expectations thrown on you at an early age. You know, I was twenty-one, a lot of expectations that I was going to be the next coming of whatever,” he said. “And that first year was very interesting navigating through that.”

By the end of 2015, Swanson was traded to Atlanta. From then on, he battled the thought, “Am I good enough?”

“I never really knew what anxiety and some of those things were like, I never really experienced enough of that or really knew that that’s what it was,” he said. “I just got humbled, you know? Humbled down to my knees.”

“I was very much depressed, I wasn’t sleeping, I really wasn’t eating. I was probably drinking more than I should have been. I just wasn’t doing the right things,” Swanson continued. “And I remember I was losing weight. I didn’t look good. I would try to go to sleep, couldn’t go to sleep, I’d finally fall asleep well after midnight, and wake up after a couple hours.”

Swanson spent one year in the minor leagues and then seven more in the major leagues where he “battled through a bunch of different depression and anxiety.”

“I didn’t know what to cling on. I didn’t know how to talk to anybody about it,” he explained. “I felt like fear was what was holding me back, whether it was fear of failure or fear of disappointing others.”

Swanson took that fear and gave it to God through therapy and community.

“I think in this day and age, I mean, we’ve never been more connected but disassociated from one another, like, we’re connected through technology, but we’re not connected in person,” he described. “And there’s such an energy that we get from people. And I think that that’s why God created us to live in community with one another, because there’s such a level of His love and connection that comes with that.”

“I do a lot of therapy and am very grateful that everything he does is based around Scripture, and it’s based on Jesus being the center of the focus,” he concluded. “So we do a lot of work just to kind of continue to stay centered on what matters. And that to me is probably the most important thing. God does a lot of things through people for me, and I’m just so grateful that I’m able to keep that perspective, to just trust in Him and His plan, and just be able to realize what He’s done for me along the way.”

He previously explained how spending time in prayer and in the Bible has helped him connect with his God-given purpose.

“I really was embracing who he had made me to be,” Swanson said, per Church Leaders.

Faith is at the center of his marriage to U.S. Women’s Soccer Team star Mallory Pugh.

“When Dansby and I first started dating, I told him if we’re going to be a thing and we’re going to have a future together, Jesus and God, that is our foundation,” she said. “I look back at the past four and a half years, and it’s amazing how much growth that we both have had in our faith.”

Movieguide® previously reported on Swanson’s faith:

Last year, Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson posted a career season and helped his team win their first MLB World Championship since 1995.

Swanson said that the team’s slow start was due to the shortened 2020 season, where they played in 60 regular-season games and 12 playoff games. In 2021, Swanson’s combined games played totaled 193 games.

“We had trained our bodies for a 100 meter sprint, and then all of a sudden, we were going to the 10,000 meter race,” he told Sports Spectrum’s Jason Romano.

Swanson, who is engaged to Chicago Red Stars soccer player Mallory Pugh, said that spending time apart was difficult. However, the 28-year-old athlete said that he and Mallory relied on their faith in God.

“I felt like God was molding me and sculpting me for what’s ahead in life, and it was not easy by any means,” he explained. “I feel like the word throughout the year that I kept hearing from Bobby Magallanes, who’s our assistant hitting coach, and from talking to Terry Evans, our Braves Chaplain leader and kind of like Mallory and I’s personal chaplain, was the word surrender.”

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