How football ruined my life - Blog by ex-professional footballer battling depression.

Messages
30
Likes
22
Location
North
Supports
EFC
Thread starter #1
I'm an ex professional footballer battling depression. I have decided to document my experiences as a player and to trace the roots of my depression. I am also looking to raise awareness of mental health amongst professional players. Feedback is appreciated, good or bad.

https://howfootballruinedmylife.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading.
 

Habbinalan

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,999
Likes
1,536
Location
Edge of the Fen
Supports
Cambridge United (and reminisces about Barrow AFC)
Twitter
@habbinalan
#5
The blogs are well worth reading and thinking about. I particularly connected with Dark Music for Dark Times.

It's something that touches most of our lives but some will have reason to notice it more than others. Over the years and still now, I've had friends and colleagues who have suffered or are suffering. The most difficult question that I've asked myself and occasionally them is what is the most useful thing that I can do, day to day, to help or at least not hinder. The answer seems to differ person to person or, perhaps more likely, where they are at in the cycle. Interestingly, exercise (walking a dog, 5 a side football, tending a garden) often seemed part of a way forward.
 

mistermagic

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,989
Likes
635
Supports
Stoke City (I don't make the rules, Epic73 does)
Twitter
@FinallyFifou
#6
I know that Gudjohnsen used to gamble all his cash. Had debts of several millions. Such a dangerous habit.
 

Dave-Vale

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,593
Likes
490
Supports
Port Vale
#7
Very good read.

As somebody who has suffered from social anxiety and bouts of depression since the age of 16/17 it is always good to read things like this. Knowing I am not alone in the way I feel is a positive.

Have to agree that music has massively helped me to deal with a lot of issues over the last few years. So many songs/lyrics that I can relate too. Some which make me feel better and some that make me feel worse.
 

TractorBoys

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Messages
3,008
Likes
940
Location
Lincolnshire
Supports
Ipswich Town
#8
Very good read.

As somebody who has suffered from social anxiety and bouts of depression since the age of 16/17 it is always good to read things like this. Knowing I am not alone in the way I feel is a positive.

Have to agree that music has massively helped me to deal with a lot of issues over the last few years. So many songs/lyrics that I can relate too. Some which make me feel better and some that make me feel worse.
All this. Especially the last sentence, music can be a big positive or negative for me depending on my mindset at the time - it's almost like I punish myself sometimes with some of the stuff I listen too (yet I still continue to do so).

I'm a psychologists dream, apparently.
 
Last edited:

SALTIRE

Slàinte mhath!
Messages
14,542
Likes
3,032
Location
Speyside
Supports
A guid dram
#9
Yeah I listen to Beethoven when I'm down, as his music always relates to my feelings in a way that not a lot of other things can when I'm like that. I listen to his stuff specifically for introspection, or to encourage me to get out of it. It sounds cheesy but it does help me anyway.
 

Habbinalan

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,999
Likes
1,536
Location
Edge of the Fen
Supports
Cambridge United (and reminisces about Barrow AFC)
Twitter
@habbinalan
#10
My version of depression never lasts more than 90 minutes. It can be transformed by company, alcohol, music or memories.

I can't imagine what it feels like for depression to last for hours, let alone days and weeks. 10 years of relegation followed by Conference football helps with perspective for we lucky ones.

But what of someone who's version is: "Most nights I wake up before 0400, and I just wait for someone to knock on my door with bad news. Sometimes I don't pick up mail for weeks and some days I never go outside my apartment. I go to work and I act all normal. I smile and I laugh, and that is the few moments I don't have a black dog biting my arm. I'm at my most happy when I'm out with friends or with my family. I self medicate with alcohol, but no one notices.

I feel so much sympathy for the guys (I only know guys) who have suffered or are suffering from an illness that means those feelings don't go away but I know that I don't know what they are going through. I just see the end product. Little that I/we can do seems to impact on someone who: "......can't enjoy what's happening now, nor look forward to anything with pleasure."

 

Dave-Vale

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,593
Likes
490
Supports
Port Vale
#11
That quote you posted is how I feel probably 70% of the time. I get up early, rarely open mail and I happy to stay in the house unless it is something for the kids. Still, I go out and feel anxious, awkward and nervous pretty much all of the time when I am in public.

My Mum suffers massively from the same sort of issues which makes me think it is genetic.
 

TractorBoys

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Messages
3,008
Likes
940
Location
Lincolnshire
Supports
Ipswich Town
#12
That quote you posted is how I feel probably 70% of the time. I get up early, rarely open mail and I happy to stay in the house unless it is something for the kids. Still, I go out and feel anxious, awkward and nervous pretty much all of the time when I am in public.

My Mum suffers massively from the same sort of issues which makes me think it is genetic.
None of my business so if you don't want to reply to this simply pass over it - but that post rings so many bells and makes me wonder if you've tried/are on SSRI's?

They aren't a miracle cure for the anxiety but they do help. I was always against medication but I'd be lying if I didn't say they've had a positive impact. I take them alongside cognitive therapy and whilst I'd like to think I won't require them forever, they've certainly improved my quality of life.

(I'm not trying to be one of those know-it-all fuckwits online who try to be Dr's btw, the above is soley based on personal experience so feel free to disregard if as see fit.)
 

Dave-Vale

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,593
Likes
490
Supports
Port Vale
#13
Not offended at all.

I've never been to the doctors mostly through fear of being looked down on. I don't know how I would feel about medication to be honest. Although, I would love to feel relatively normal.

How does that kind of medication work?
 

Stevencc

Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Messages
13,242
Likes
7,218
Location
°
Supports
°
#14
None of my business so if you don't want to reply to this simply pass over it - but that post rings so many bells and makes me wonder if you've tried/are on SSRI's?

They aren't a miracle cure for the anxiety but they do help. I was always against medication but I'd be lying if I didn't say they've had a positive impact. I take them alongside cognitive therapy and whilst I'd like to think I won't require them forever, they've certainly improved my quality of life.

(I'm not trying to be one of those know-it-all fuckwits online who try to be Dr's btw, the above is soley based on personal experience so feel free to disregard if as see fit.)
Each case is clearly different but which SSRIs have you had success with mate? I'm 27 now but I've been on four or five different tablets since I was 14 and I've not had much luck at all.
 

Habbinalan

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,999
Likes
1,536
Location
Edge of the Fen
Supports
Cambridge United (and reminisces about Barrow AFC)
Twitter
@habbinalan
#15
That quote you posted is how I feel probably 70% of the time. I get up early, rarely open mail and I happy to stay in the house unless it is something for the kids. Still, I go out and feel anxious, awkward and nervous pretty much all of the time when I am in public.

My Mum suffers massively from the same sort of issues which makes me think it is genetic.
The quote was from this web site:

http://studentsagainstdepression.org/understand-depression/what-is-depression/
 

TractorBoys

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Messages
3,008
Likes
940
Location
Lincolnshire
Supports
Ipswich Town
#16
Not offended at all.

I've never been to the doctors mostly through fear of being looked down on. I don't know how I would feel about medication to be honest. Although, I would love to feel relatively normal.

How does that kind of medication work?
I know exactly where you're coming from. I found the courage to go to the Doctors 5 years and he saw me for 5 minutes, made a snap judgement that I was going through a 'period of change' and I was out. That led to, in my opinion, me self medicating with the likes of Mephedrone for 3 years. (Stupid sure, desperate? Absolutely). That actually worked to begin with, but looking back it just invented a parellel world for me in some respects.

Fast forward, I moved away and left that behind, try to start fresh. The same issues (dep/anx) came back and it was actually my former employer that asked my permission to refer me to a counsellor when a few 'too many bad days' crept into my working day (I was pretty good at hiding it to begin with, at least I thought I was). From there... it was really great -the counsellor regularly took my PHQ scores across a number of weeks. It's an official, scientifically proven questionaire to (over time) assess a patients need for treatment/meds for dep&anx. This, along with my counsellor sessions led to (with my permission) a referral to my doctor. However, unlike 5 years prior I had a full physiologists examination and my PHQ scores in black and white. It meant there wasn't as much pressure on my to articulate all my issues.

I'll be forever grateful for the employer pushing me down that route so to speak. I still see my counsellor once a week. Doing that prior to going back to the doctors meant my thoughts/feelings were documentated over a good sample size and were also backed up by the recognised PHQ evaluations.

Each case is clearly different but which SSRIs have you had success with mate? I'm 27 now but I've been on four or five different tablets since I was 14 and I've not had much luck at all.
Something called Citalopram mate, tried Prozac beforehand for depression but was later diagnosed with general anxiety disorder which isnt typically suited to the latter (bit of a cliche as they usually go hand in hand, at least to some extent). Whilst they don't rid me of all my symptoms, they make me feel normal enough in the majority of social situations to interact and get through them, often with enjoyment. I still feel the same way with regards to reasons behind the anxiety but it's subdued sufficiently to levels I feel I handle quite well on a good day. That sentence probably won't sound logical to some people but you know what I mean!

How much benefit I get from the SSRI's, and how much I get from the therapy is open to debate. I believe they both have a positive impact, though.
 

Stevencc

Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Messages
13,242
Likes
7,218
Location
°
Supports
°
#17
I know exactly where you're coming from. I found the courage to go to the Doctors 5 years and he saw me for 5 minutes, made a snap judgement that I was going through a 'period of change' and I was out. That led to, in my opinion, me self medicating with the likes of Mephedrone for 3 years. (Stupid sure, desperate? Absolutely). That actually worked to begin with, but looking back it just invented a parellel world for me in some respects.

Fast forward, I moved away and left that behind, try to start fresh. The same issues (dep/anx) came back and it was actually my former employer that asked my permission to refer me to a counsellor when a few 'too many bad days' crept into my working day (I was pretty good at hiding it to begin with, at least I thought I was). From there... it was really great -the counsellor regularly took my PHQ scores across a number of weeks. It's an official, scientifically proven questionaire to (over time) assess a patients need for treatment/meds for dep&anx. This, along with my counsellor sessions led to (with my permission) a referral to my doctor. However, unlike 5 years prior I had a full physiologists examination and my PHQ scores in black and white. It meant there wasn't as much pressure on my to articulate all my issues.

I'll be forever grateful for the employer pushing me down that route so to speak. I still see my counsellor once a week. Doing that prior to going back to the doctors meant my thoughts/feelings were documentated over a good sample size and were also backed up by the recognised PHQ evaluations.



Something called Citalopram mate, tried Prozac beforehand for depression but was later diagnosed with general anxiety disorder which isnt typically suited to the latter (bit of a cliche as they usually go hand in hand, at least to some extent). Whilst they don't rid me of all my symptoms, they make me feel normal enough in the majority of social situations to interact and get through them, often with enjoyment. I still feel the same way with regards to reasons behind the anxiety but it's subdued sufficiently to levels I feel I handle quite well on a good day. That sentence probably won't sound logical to some people but you know what I mean!

How much benefit I get from the SSRI's, and how much I get from the therapy is open to debate. I believe they both have a positive impact, though.
I've been on Citalopram before and have been on Fluoxetine for around 8 months now. I can relate to what you are saying about never feeling completely "sorted", but I suppose I do get some improvements which is better than nothing. In terms of therapy I've had two "courses" of it and while they were beneficial at the time I was only able to get eight weeks worth of sessions at any one time and I found myself drifting back into bad habits once I was on my own, so to speak.

I think you are right and it's about striking a good and effective balance between the medicinal and the talking through/developing coping strategies.
 

TractorBoys

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Messages
3,008
Likes
940
Location
Lincolnshire
Supports
Ipswich Town
#18
I've been on Citalopram before and have been on Fluoxetine for around 8 months now. I can relate to what you are saying about never feeling completely "sorted", but I suppose I do get some improvements which is better than nothing. In terms of therapy I've had two "courses" of it and while they were beneficial at the time I was only able to get eight weeks worth of sessions at any one time and I found myself drifting back into bad habits once I was on my own, so to speak.

I think you are right and it's about striking a good and effective balance between the medicinal and the talking through/developing coping strategies.
Is that through the NHS? 'Only eight weeks worth of sessions' is a fucking disgrace. Regardless of my overall political views, that really fucks me off. I went NHS all those years ago and they signed me off (or words to that effect) after 2... shocking.

I pay £35/hour once a week privately. It isn't cheap and I feel lucky enough to be able to put that money together. It's a joke though really that mental health isn't seen as anywhere near as important as physical. They already know that some people would strongly benefit from long-term (perhaps permanent) regular therapy, so why isn't that openly available to those who need it? (If somebody knows otherwise then feel free to correct me).
 

Stevencc

Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Messages
13,242
Likes
7,218
Location
°
Supports
°
#19
Is that through the NHS? 'Only eight weeks worth of sessions' is a fucking disgrace. Regardless of my overall political views, that really fucks me off. I went NHS all those years ago and they signed me off (or words to that effect) after 2... shocking.

I pay £35/hour once a week privately. It isn't cheap and I feel lucky enough to be able to put that money together. It's a joke though really that mental health isn't seen as anywhere near as important as physical.
Yeah that's through the NHS mate. It might be different in other areas but that's all I can get in my area (north London) - something called Icope.

It's good to know that you can get something more permanent for a relatively affordable price though, that's something I should look into.

There is definitely a lot of catching up to do with regards to attitudes to mental health, for sure.
 

TractorBoys

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
Messages
3,008
Likes
940
Location
Lincolnshire
Supports
Ipswich Town
#20
A biggie for me BTW is mindfulness, staying in the moment. I can learn all the tricks and techniques in the book but I often find they desert me when I'm in the moment, I do too much spectator-sport when it comes to myself. That said, when I DO manage to implement them in realtime they also help.

https://www.headspace.com was recommended to me. Might be worth a look. If you're unsure, I'd honestly recommend giving it a go as I was aswell but if you commit to the first 10 minute audio in a quiet room where you aren't to be disturbed, I hope you'll feel similar to how I did after the first time I bought into it and give it a chance. First 10 are free so nothing to lose.

I've also got some sheets that I refer to when I need them, I can happily send them over if you (or anyone else) might benefit.
 
Last edited:

SALTIRE

Slàinte mhath!
Messages
14,542
Likes
3,032
Location
Speyside
Supports
A guid dram
#21
A biggie for me BTW is mindfulness, staying in the moment.
That is a very great point, if you can stay in the present and don't let your mind wander too much, it can help greatly I've found as I'm one of those whose mind never switches off and I get anxious when I dwell too much on things. I was on Citalopram for about 6 months but felt I was becoming far too flat on them so came off them and tablets altogether. Don't feel I need them just now even though I can't say I can class myself as being 'happy', but I'm trying to work through it without medication if I can. The black dog runs right through my immediate family and I am trying to get out of the state of ennui and sometimes I feel really motivated and good, but other days I just want to stay in my room.

Another thing that helps too is exercise, something I really need to get back into.
 

Krazy8

Blowfishing This Up
Messages
744
Likes
561
Location
Albuquerque
Supports
Long term gains.
#23
I've suffered really badly from social anxiety in the past, so much so I had a bit of a nervous breakdown in the end. Doctor prescribed me both propranolol and prozep(liquid Prozac) and these made a major difference.

Once I was over the worst I realised I'd fallen into a trap of doing what people expected me to do not what I enjoyed doing, so went back to basics and put myself first for a change, now things are much better.

Should just add that I joined this forum when I was suffering quite badly from anxiety and it played a major part in my recovery...didn't realise there were so many people like me! So cheers for the help TractorBoys :2thumb:
 
Messages
4,405
Likes
1,776
Location
Buckhurst Hill
Supports
Leyton Orient
#24
I can also chuck my name into the depressionish ring. I'm the kind of guy noone would ever expect it of, life and soul of the party, gets on well with everyone, bit of a joker... Yet it happens. Don't think it really helped when I was on a night out last year, came back to find my dad dead in the bathroom having had an aneurysm in his lungs and as a result vomited blood all over the place akin to the Texas chainsaw massacre... Mental problems can strike anyone, even those you least expect and seem to have the world at their feet.
 

TomPNE94

Big Mak Fan
Messages
8,381
Likes
3,449
Location
Preston
Supports
Simon Makienok
Twitter
@TomMonks94
#27
I can also chuck my name into the depressionish ring. I'm the kind of guy noone would ever expect it of, life and soul of the party, gets on well with everyone, bit of a joker... Yet it happens. Don't think it really helped when I was on a night out last year, came back to find my dad dead in the bathroom having had an aneurysm in his lungs and as a result vomited blood all over the place akin to the Texas chainsaw massacre... Mental problems can strike anyone, even those you least expect and seem to have the world at their feet.
Jeez mate, sorry to hear that :(
 

Renegade

Show me what you got.
Messages
1,932
Likes
1,128
Location
Belfast
Supports
Trad Bricks
#29
It's pretty sad that people have questioned the validity of your blog ("anyone can make a blog up and pretend to be an ex-footballer") when it potentially provides a cathartic release for someone suffering depression. Thought about picking up the book on Enke before, really should give it a read.
 

Techno Natch

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,789
Likes
860
Supports
Bristol City
#30
It's pretty sad that people have questioned the validity of your blog ("anyone can make a blog up and pretend to be an ex-footballer") when it potentially provides a cathartic release for someone suffering depression. Thought about picking up the book on Enke before, really should give it a read.
It's a very insightful book and really well written. You can almost feel the struggle and frustration.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
14,939
Messages
923,723
Members
5,090
Latest member
Bordon Shot

Latest posts