Only Lane Johnson knows the depths to which he has sunk during his mental health struggles, but especially when forced to leave the Eagles earlier this season.

Those close to him likely have an intimate understanding of his plight and what he has overcome. They, too, have been affected. But depression is often described by those afflicted as a solitary confinement of the mind.

“It’s a beast,” he said when first revealing his depression and anxiety. “It goes to bed with you. It wakes up with you. It’s there with you all the time.”

But Johnson’s most recent bout, he said, began after he stopped taking his selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, medication. He said he had experienced withdrawal symptoms, although before the season opener, he just knew something was awry.

“I told my mom, ‘Something’s really wrong with me. I don’t know exactly what it is,’” Johnson told FoxSports back in October. “I said, ‘I’m miserable. I know my mind isn’t right. I know my body isn’t right.’”

He played the next three games despite his condition. Johnson performed well enough, but not up to his usual high standards. And then, poof, he was gone before the Eagles hosted the Chiefs in Week 4, and missed three games as he addressed his mental health.

Johnson likely wouldn’t have handled his sabbatical any other way. The time away probably saved his career. But he believes it may have factored into why he wasn’t voted to his fourth Pro Bowl this season.

“I think it did a lot of good for a lot of people,” he said Wednesday of the tackles who were selected ahead of him for the annual all-star game. “For me, I don’t know if it did.”

Since returning in Week 7, Johnson has played as if on a mission. It may have gone under the radar because offensive linemen aren’t usually noticed unless they make a mistake. But no other starting tackle in the NFL was seemingly as error-free over the last nine weeks.

Johnson allowed only six quarterback pressures over that span, according to Pro Football Focus. He didn’t commit a penalty. No other tackle with as many qualifying snaps played had fewer pressures and penalties combined.

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Johnson has also been part of an O-line that has blocked for a run offense that has ascended to the top of the league in the second half of the season. But when Pro Bowl rosters were announced Dec. 22, center Jason Kelce was the only member of the unit to get enough votes.

“I was pissed. I’ll leave it at that,” Johnson said a week later. “I was really pissed. As far as that, it just motivates me [for] whatever’s left of the season.”

The 49ers’ Trent Williams and the Buccaneers’ Tristan Wirfs were chosen as the NFC starters, and the Cowboys’ Tyron Smith was the lone reserve. All three have valid arguments, although Smith has missed five games to injury.

Evaluations are often subjective. There isn’t a perfect formula, although PFF has attempted to quantify performance based upon film study and advanced statistics. Every team has its own grading system, but some do utilize PFF’s services.

Nevertheless, however one thinks about the site, its purpose is to offer an objective analysis of players. And based upon their grades, Williams (first), Wirfs (sixth), and Smith (second) rank ahead of Johnson (seventh) among NFC tackles who have played 50% or more of 1,063 snaps.

Johnson and Eagles left tackle Jordan Mailata (fourth) weren’t named alternates either. The Rams’ Andrew Whitworth (fifth) and the Seahawks’ Duane Brown (17th) received those slots.

Johnson, though, is the only one of the aforementioned tackles without a surrendered sack this season, per PFF. And only Williams and 49ers teammate Tom Compton have earned higher scores since Week 7.

Johnson’s case is clearly strong, especially if the context of his first six games is taken into account. Was it upon the voters to do so? Perhaps. But Pro Bowl voting has long been flawed, from the early deadline to who votes and how those votes are divided.

Coaches, players, and fans vote and each group counts for one-third of the final tally. Every year, there are examples of lesser-known players being overlooked for more popular ones. It typically takes a year or two to gain notice for being good enough or conversely past one’s prime.

“I just feel for Lane in that regard, more than myself because I know I’m starting out,” Mailata, who is in first full season as a starter, said last week. “Not everybody knows my name, but they will one day.”

The 31-year-old Johnson wasn’t selected until his fifth season. He went as an alternate the next two seasons. Kelce knows as well as anyone how fickle the process can be.

“We all know it’s an imperfect science,” Kelce said. “I’ve been an All-Pro twice and not made the Pro Bowl. I think there’s a lot of guys that are really good players. My line, in particular, the two tackles we have, I think, were as good as, if not better, than anybody in the league.

“They know what we think of them. I wish everybody else did. But that’s kind of the way the Pro Bowl voting works. It tends to be sporadic, and whoever the hot media guys are for the year end up usually getting it.”

NFL writers don’t get to chime in until All-Pro voting after the season, when 50 members from across the country choose two teams. Johnson earned his lone All-Pro in 2017 and was named first-team.

He’s been one of the few right tackles to be honored, although there is still an inherent bias toward the left, even if top edge rushers line up mostly on either side nowadays. Of the six Pro Bowlers from both conferences this year, only Wirfs is a right tackle.

Johnson long fought the public relations battle for undervalued right tackles. But two suspensions after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs that caused him to miss 14 games over two seasons likely had more to do with Pro Bowl slights early in his career, if there were any.

He altered his fitness and nutrition after serving his last punishment, but ankle injuries forced him to miss 13 games during the 2019 and ‘20 seasons. Johnson attacked last offseason with vigor as he reshaped his body at his “Bro Barn” in suburban South Jersey.

But his anxiety disorder was first diagnosed in college, and Johnson hid his condition from others for years. He eventually confided in select family, friends, and members of the Eagles, but it wasn’t until he went public did he realize the many who share the illness.

The outpouring of support was overwhelming, but Johnson’s adding another famous face to the cause helped many with depression. Kelce spoke emotionally about his long-time teammate and “the amount of people he’s given hope to” just two weeks ago.

“We’re in the business of hope,” Kelce said in between tears.

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Johnson is not alone, although the battle is often waged in solitary. There is no shame in seeking or needing assistance. Resuming his medication has certainly helped, but Johnson said last month that finding a purpose and a “why” has also aided in his recovery.

“I feel good playing football again, not going through symptoms or what I was feeling,” Johnson said. “You’re kind of manic and you’re going through those phases. When I’m not feeling like that, I feel like life’s a lot easier.

“I can just go play football.”

And he has played some of his best since, and even caught his first career touchdown pass last Sunday against the New York Giants. The “East Texas” trick play, named after Johnson, didn’t exactly compensate for the all-star snub.

“I think I’m the best version of myself right now,” Johnson said a few days later when asked about his on-field play compared with past seasons.

Pro Bowl or not, that’s all that matters.