Urban Meyer has talked about his mental health in the past and it was the reason he took a leave of absence from coaching five years ago.
But the Ohio State head coach never discussed his struggles as in depth as he did with Bleacher Report in a piece the website published Tuesday. In the article titled ‘I’m not the lone wolf’ Meyer and his wife, Shelley, opened up about how much Meyer struggled with taking care of himself during his tenure as Florida’s head coach.
Meyer says he lost 40 pounds at one point and for a time was only able to sleep with the help of Ambien.
The only help Urban took was Ambien for his sleep. One a night at first, and then two, washing them down with beer. “Every night,” Shelley says. “And it’s highly addictive. He couldn’t sleep without it.”
Even with it, he didn’t sleep much—maybe four hours a night—and it was a feverish, desperate sort of sleep, his mind incapable of stopping its search for problems to worry over and try to solve. He often woke up to find that, sometime in the night, he had filled dozens of pages with football plays and motivational speeches. He remembered writing none of it.
Meyer also talked about the chest pains that woke him up in the middle of the night after his Florida team lost the SEC Championship game in 2009.
The article also touched on how Meyer treats himself better at Ohio State.
Urban forces himself to eat, even when he doesn’t feel hungry. He consults with a nutritionist. He snacks on bananas and Chobani Greek yogurt. He avoids pizza.
Urban gets his workouts in around midday. Forty-five minutes of cardio, about 15 lifting weights.
When he checks in with Shelley, she can always tell, sometimes just by the sound of his voice, if he’s doing OK. And if he’s not, she tells him. And now, he listens to her.