Brandon Brooks sees silver lining in anxiety diagnosis

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After anxiety diagnosis, Brandon Brooks sees silver lining. Jamie Apody reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on March 30, 2017. (WPVI)

Offensive linemen are often characterized as being big and nasty, but Brandon Brooks is a gentle giant.

In his one year in Philadelphia, he's made his presence felt off the field, volunteering his time in schools and showing up at random fans' weddings.

"A lot of times, athletes get lost once they get done, and by reaching out to the community, planning your future after this, going along with that, I think it's really important," Brooks said.

It's a reality check he was hit with last season. At one point, Brooks missed two out of three games.

It was only after he was hospitalized with what he thought was just stomach issues did doctors come to diagnose his anxiety disorder.

"It's not something that I really knew about until this season. When it happened, I really didn't know how to cope with that. A lot of people don't understand how consuming anxiety can be," Brooks said.

Brooks has described it as an overwhelming and almost suffocating fear of failure, one that became more consuming with the signing of his 5-year, $40 million contract.

"When you do get this money, you become tied to a number. People expect you to have perfect games, perfect snaps, week in and week out for 16 straight games, but that's out of your control. I started learning that in the offseason that fear of failure almost breeds failure. Through failure, you become successful," Brooks said.

Brooks has since become a bit of a spokesperson for anxiety. He's received tons of letters from fans, and parents of children who suffer the same symptoms.

And as someone who lives to make a difference, that's his silver lining.

"It's in your darkest moments that you usually come out and see the brightest of lights," Brooks said.

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