Lamar Odom was born in South Jamaica, Queens (NYC) to Joe Odom and Cathy Mercer. After Lamar's mother died of colon cancer when he was 12 years old, his maternal grandmother raised him in Jamaica, Queens due to his father being a heroin addict.
I'm not going to expound much on Odom's basketball career which eventually afforded him the opportunity to escape his rough upbringing in Jamaica, Queens. But I will focus on the probability of him suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Even though Odom's struggles with drugs while also dealing with many personal tragedies has been well documented over the years, the majority of the stories are so sensationalized that the underlying issues get lost in all the rhetoric.
Although It's very easy to sit back and blame the majority of Odom's problems on his wife Khloe Kardashian and her family, I refuse to do so. I'm not insinuating there's no cynical behavior displayed on their part at times, but at the end of the day, it's ultimately his decision to drink alcohol excessively and use hardcore drugs. (Khloe filed for divorce in late May)
Keep in mind, Odom's son Jayden died at 6 1/2 months of sudden infant death syndrome in 2006 and a month later, he was robbed at gunpoint. In 2011, a few days after his cousin was murdered in NYC, he was riding in an SUV when the driver was involved in an accident with a motorcycle which was propelled into a 15-year-old pedestrian who later died.
Also in June 2015, two of Odom's good friends, Jamie Sangouthai, and Bobby Heyward, died within a week of each other. According to People magazine, Sangouthai's death was caused by a flesh-eating disease from his intravenous drug use and Heyward allegedly died of a drug overdose.
In early October 2015, Odom was found unconscious at Love Ranch, a brothel in Nevada and according to TMZ, cocaine and opiates were found in his system. Also according to a recent TMZ report, Odom may be using hardcore drugs again.
Although Odom didn't suffer any physical injuries while being robbed and as a passenger in the vehicle involved in the death of a teenager, the trauma would make it very difficult for anyone in his situation to heal from. This is the main reason why I believe that he suffers from the effects of PTSD.
The trauma that brings about PTSD is also a contributing factor to depression. Losing a parent, a close relative, and friends could certainly lead to major depressive disorder. I'm in no way insinuating that everyone diagnosed with this condition suffers from depression as well, but the probability of that being the case certainly exists.
Statistics clearly show that African Americans are less likely to seek mental health counseling services due the stigma associated with the subject. Also, I must add that the vast majority of males in general frown upon seeking MH counseling because some see it as a sign of weakness.
In my case, even after I was clinically diagnosed with PTSD and depression, it took me years to seek help for unaddressed traumatic events during my childhood.
Like many of us who suffer from the effects of mental illness, Odom has become his worst enemy. Unfortunately, if he continues to self-medicate with hardcore drugs and excessive drinking, it will ultimately lead to his death.
Lamar, I hear your cry, but hopefully, my tears will not be due to your death. It will be due to you seeking and receiving the help that you so desperately need.