‘For many men, they may not even realise they’re suffering from depression. I certainly didn’t, I felt down, and I felt low, but I just thought that it was just me.
‘It was when I started having more bad days than good and that I realised this had been going on for a while I knew I needed help. It was starting to affect people around me and I knew I couldn’t go on like this.
‘Anxiety and depression can be triggered at any time and can affect anyone regardless of their age, their job, their status in life, sexuality, anything. It’s a huge issue that needs to be addressed.’
Thus spoke Darren Eadie over the weekend. The male of the species tends to flee from the issue as Darren suggests in the full Archant article. The excellent Cedric Anselin is also a great spokesperson on this issue.
Can you imagine tearing down the wing against Vitesse Arnhem on your NCFC debut with 20 minutes to go in the game, scaring the living daylights out of them, and several years later feeling depression so deeply when your playing career is over because of injury at just 28, that you need to seek help?
Equally, how did Justin Fashanu feel under the management of the (rightly) revered Brian Clough? Sadly we all know the answer to that one. We cannot generally understand how those guys (and there are many others at other clubs) feel or felt?
Well, I can because I have been there.
I made the massive mistake of getting far too close to one of our director’s secretaries at work. Far, far too close. She promised so much but when push came to shove she reneged and stuck with the millionaire vice President of a major northern football club she was with but who was not able to fully supply her “needs”. He was 25 years older than both of us. Money always talks the loudest.
That whole episode made me realise my marriage was no longer for me. I left the “family home” but never let my kids down in any way. I also descended into the slough of despond. I felt bad at every point.
I kept my job due to the very big-hearted director I reported to – he gave me a month to sort myself out. There was no way I could have told him (or anybody) the truth. I will be forever grateful to SH. I had no help whatsoever otherwise – I didn’t actively seek help anyway.
But guess what put me back to (complete) sanity?
I was a bit of a sofa-surfer for about six months and got “mates rates” at the Black Boys in Aylsham for a couple of weeks. Landlords G&P were Brummie bluenoses and often invited a couple of their gay friends to stay at the pub.
One night P said to me: “I’ll cheer you up you miserable ba$tard. We’re going on a ghost hunt upstairs.”
The Black Boys had at least four floors. The after closing time procession upstairs consisted of P at the front, the two lads next, then myself and their little Jack Russell, which preferred to be with me on this occasion. Or most occasions to be honest.
One of the guys reckoned he saw a real ghost. Me, his partner and the dog mocked him.
I woke up the next morning and felt brilliant. The whole thing was such a laugh it brought all my spirit (whoops) back. I was cured.
No more depression for me. Funny what shakes you out of it – which is ultimately what you need.
But us an undercurrent the issue of male mental health remains real, very real.
So Darren Eadie and Cedric Anselin have my full respect.
Please never think you cannot be affected by it. It strikes when possibly you don’t expect. And none of us are as hard as we think we are.