The Fourth Period by Dan Carcillo (VIDEO)

I have been thinking a lot about the importance of teammates lately. When my friend Steve Montador died last February, I didn’t really take the proper time to grieve. We were in the middle of the season. My teammates on the Blackhawks counted on me to be a certain type of guy when I walked into their locker room — the guy who would put on a new playlist every day and joke around and make people happy.

Inside, I was an absolute wreck. I did the best I could to just get through the season so that I could walk away from the game on my own terms.

In April, I released a video on The Players’ Tribune about Monty and his struggles to cope with concussions, depression and life after hockey. It was raw and emotional. I was dealing with a concussion myself. I tried to make as much sense as I could.

I just didn’t want to see anyone else go through what my friend had gone through.

After we won the Stanley Cup and I retired last summer, I knew that I wanted to create a foundation that would honor Monty’s legacy and help guys who were struggling to find a new identity after hockey.

But that fall, when the new season started, I went through the same dark cycle that I witnessed firsthand with Monty. I went in with my eyes completely open, but I just couldn’t stop it. I started isolating myself. I felt like I didn’t have a purpose. I fell into a deep and dark depression. Most days, I got out of bed at 1 p.m.

One day, my family got invited to a birthday party for the young son of my former teammate Andrew Desjardins. My wife, Ela, practically had to drag me out of the house. I didn’t want the guys to see me in the state I was in. I remember walking up the stairs to the place with Ela and my son, and I was completely overwhelmed with anxiety and stress. I wanted to turn back and go to the car — because I knew I was going to go in there and lie to them. I knew I was going to say that everything was fine.

The crazy thing is, when I walked into the party, all of that anxiety went away. I saw Brent Seabrook. I saw Johnny Toews. All the guys I cared so much about. And they sincerely cared about how I was doing. Seeing them made me feel O.K. again, even if it only lasted a few days — or to be completely honest, a few hours — until I fell back into the darkness again.

That birthday party is the perfect example of why I started Chapter 5. It’s the reason why Monty’s legacy will live on.

So this week, I sat down in front of the camera again to be as honest as I can about my own struggles, and to talk about my sincere belief that we can help each other through the darkness.

Dan Carcillo via | Video: The Players’ Tribune via Youtube | Photo:

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Dusty Fields

I like baseball, camping and being out on the lake in my boat. My dog Sparky loves it too! Make sure you follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest by clicking on the tabs.

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