‘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.
Alex B says
A very good read on a very much suppressed subject.
Being ex military I can understand how easy it is for people to fall under the depression spell and gave difficulties getting back on an even keel.
During my 9 years I spent short spells on N I were luckily or unluckily I wirked along side the East Anglian Regiment and knew a few of them from Gt Yarmouth, we were all heavy drinkers but most would leave me standing it was the way to cope with what was going on around you and the Military did little to discourage the drinking.
I then spent 3 years in Gibraltar and on leave back in Yarmouth I met a few on the E A and got taking about what we gad seen, my first question was how come Lance wasn’t about and joked he was under the thump with his wife ans child and was told he had kilked himself due to all his bad experiences in NI.
This was in the 70’s and the Military had and possibly still has a drinking culter it isn’t encouraged or discouraged, if you went to the Doc and said I have a drinking problem he would ask us it effecting your work if not you would be told learn to handle it.
Depression comes in many forms and people kearn to disguise it from others so as not to show a weakness drinking, taking drugs and finding ways to be by your self helps to mask depression in adults but the worst is when kids gets it from bullying, peers pressure, parental expectation, internet abuse all the symptoms need to be address and both make and females need to learn to recognise it in others that are close family or friends.
martin penney says
I never should have written this but I did!
I was never a serviceman but I did four years in the Met. Not easy, I learned how to shoot a .22 rifle while at school in the CCF. On and off cover. An ability I have never lost. If I don’t get the squirrels/rabbits the dogs will.
Drugs I know little of as I don’t take any but I know of plenty who do/did. Coke mainly. Some were on speed too. Drink alone was and always will be my downfall.
I wake up to a couple of Mrs P’s co-dydramol every morning. You never get a headache if you take them on awakening..
To exit on a serious note people do see depression as a sign of weakness – until it affects them.
The ones I feel sorry for are the sufferers with literally nobody to turn to.
I was never that unlucky.
Thanks as ever.
Alex B says
I have been luck in many ways having never suffered from an form of depression but I have been told I am not a sympathetic person as I show no feelings and smirk at things that are not funny.
Yes I agree with that in many ways but were some people take in the worries of the world that is all around I try and see the lighter side of things and again this might up set people but it is my way of handling tragic or gard luck stories.
As a human being we all have to find ways to cope some people are more successful than others at doing this but for the last few years I found that drinking never solved depression or problems they were still there the bext day, my relief is gaving a straight talking Yorkshire wife that doesn’t suffer fools or sulkers
Glad you did this article
martin penney says
Thanks again Alex
I grew up with my dad’s black humour from the RE and Police so I know where you’re coming from. He could be in bits inside but the exterior was always rhino hide. Most of his generation were just the same I would imagine.
Mrs P is Norwich born and bred but it seems like she and your wife have a lot in common:-)
Totally agree with your comment Martin about people seeing depression as a weakness.
This was me until I had a nervous breakdown and lost my job many years ago.
I was very low and didn’t really understand what it happened, it was like an outer body experience.
But it totally changed my perception of mental illness and ive now learned to read the signs when things start to get difficult.
One other thing that Eadie said really resonated with me – once you accept that the brain is just a muscle and like any other muscle it can break down, you can start to come to terms with what is happening.
martin penney says
Thanks very much Segura.
I was lucky to the extent that my problems centred on one incident. I don’t think I could describe what happened to me as a nervous breakdown because I could still walk, talk, drive and just about manage to do my job. Unfortunately as the “company journalist” I was well known on site wherever I went so everybody noticed there was “something wrong”.
The one thing I failed to do during that period was eat. Food seemed an irrelevance at the time and I lost almost two stone.
In my case time was a healer and after around nine months I was back to whatever passes for normal with me:-)
I have always believed in the old saying “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and there has been no repeat.
To me it’s great that Darren and Cedric speak out as they do – it’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. But as they, you and I know once you’ve experienced issues yourself your attitude turns on a sixpence.
Out of body experience is probably the best description I’ve ever heard.
Well written Martin. Such an open and honest piece on a really difficult subject deserves utmost respect. It is not something I have suffered from myself but I know some who have. It can devastate lives.
Thank you for your contribution and for putting your experiences out there.
martin penney says
Hi Richard and thank you very much.
The subject is indeed difficult as you suggest. I’m a great survivor and if I were not my late father would emerge from wherever he might be and somehow boot me up the butt. Sometimes in my dreams/nightmares he does. In my waking mind’s eye anyway.
There is no shame in feeling low.
I am not high profile like Darren or Cedric but I can really empathise with both of them,
If professional footballers can acknowledge their problems in the way these guys have I am happy to be “onside” with them.
It’s so hard to admit to – your mates think you’re weak. Luckily I had a few decent and intelligent friends who REALLY helped me through.
In my case it was all 20 years ago but it could have been yesterday.
Thank you again.
Over 30 years ago now, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (BD), which is hereditary, but in those days it was known as Manic Depression (MD); which meant that you could be manic one minute and quite severely depressed the next. One of the consequences was that I ran up significant debts – mainly buying things I didn’t need/couldn’t afford, but I’m now in complete control f my spending. When I was first diagnosed, I was taking quite a high dosage of Lithium Carbonate with occasional courses of anti-depressants in an effort to stabilise my mood.
I was lucky enough to get a job at UEA early this century and by this time, my mood swings had become less severe and were more infrequent. I also decided to improve my level of fitness, so went along to Sportspark for some advice and was advised to try ‘circuits’ which lasted about 40 minutes several lunchtimes each week. After a few weeks, I was accepted by the other regulars and was invited to join them on some of their social events and have never looked back.
I’ve also found that keeping fit and exercising is a great stress reliever and no longer take ANY medication. I consider myself very lucky in that I was able to an early diagnosis, as speaking to other sufferers in the past, many struggled for years to get diagnosed.
martin penney says
I once worked with a guy in what was then my local who was bipolar and his mood could turn on the flip of a coin. As he was the chef it didn’t always end well – for staff or customers, although he was a brilliant cook. when he was “right”.
It’s great to know you emerged on the right side, Marcus didn’t.
Thank you for your sympathetic post and to quote The Verve you are so right when you say the drugs don’t work.
Playing in a six-a-side league onthe UEA astro did more for me than anything a doctor could have prescribed. You are spot on.
Sincere thanks for your post.
Dan Rear says
I’m with Alex B I must admit. Never had any issues, other than than usual ‘life issues’. Lucky I guess, but I’ve always felt that to a large extent you make your own luck. What I do suffer from, is a lack of sympathy/empathy, and too much stiff upper lip – or so I’m told. But I have to say, mental illness is all the rage these days, you can’t put the radio/tele on, or pick up a paper without being assailed with it. Sorry.
martin penney says
Sure you make your own luck. I have done so in my life for 60 years. And I’ve been quite good at it too.
Of course I understand your point about getting out there and getting on with it. It’s exactly what I did myself in order to cope and I’m actually quite proud of doing so. I wasn’t ever (not even once) a doctor-botherer but I think I can understand why others would go down that route.
In my view male mental illness isn’t “all the rage” but something that is far more open to discussion now than even, say, five years ago.
No need to say sorry – your viewpoint is as valid as mine.
Cheers for your comment.
Alex B says
Depression is an illness that no one understands not even the Doctors and I sympathise with all those that have it and those helping people to deal with it.
The nurses and doctors put theur own metal health at risk every day help those that have this illness.
The worst thing is those that pretend to have a mental health problem as they drain resources that are needed to help those that are ill.
The lucky ones are those that can handle their own issues on a day to day put when it effects these it hits even harder due to all the problems they have previously side stepoed comes back and haunt them all over again
You will always get the malingers and those wanting attention saying they have an illness that they don’t gave but they need help as well
martin penney says
Fair points all Alex.
The malingerers are a drain on NHS resources but how easy is it to weed them out? Very difficult I would imagine, especially that old stalwart the “bad back”.
I really couldn’t work in the NHS and I very much admire those who do.