Dealing with Depression: From One Man to Another

“At least in boxing it’s 12 rounds and then you come out. In the hospital I could never see when it was going to end.”

This was former heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno, who suffered from depression once his career in boxing had finished. It shows that anyone can get this illness at anytime in his or her life.

Depression (Major Depressive Disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you eventually act.

It can occur for a variety of reasons and it has many different triggers. For some people, an upsetting or stressful life event, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries, can be the cause. These are often just some of the causes that can combine together to trigger depression.

The early symptoms of depression include –

· Being upset or tearful

· Restlessness or agitation

· Irritability

· Feeling guilty

· Sense of worthlessness, have no self-confidence, lack of self-esteem

· Emptiness, numbness, a sense of unreality

· Isolation and inability to relate to other people

· Finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy

· Hopelessness and a general feeling of despair.

So, Brothers, if you suffer from depression these are just a few things to help with this mental illness. First off, try to get in a gentle regular routine. Getting back into a regular sleep pattern and going to bed at a reasonable time can achieve this. Setting a daily schedule can help get you back on track.

Next, set daily achievable goals, even if it’s just washing the dishes, then gradually build up to more challenging tasks. You can also exercise, even if it’s just going out for daily walks a few times a week. This gets the positive endorphins going! Eating healthy and having a balanced diet can also make you feel better.

One major thing that can be useful is going to see a counsellor about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). This can help change your thought patterns from a negative mind-set to a positive mind-set. Thus it can help you achieve more than you thought that you were capable of and help you get back into the pattern of everyday life. It is just A STEADY ONE STEP AT A TIME. It is ‘the way of the tortoise – PACE YOURSELF!.

If you think you are alone in suffering with this mental illness, think again as some well-known sports people have been battling with it such as England batsman, Marcus Trescothick, who left the Ashes tour to Australia in 2006 with what was described at the time as a “stress-related illness”. Later he wrote a book.

One of the extracts from the book is: “If you’ve got a broken leg you’ve got a cast on your leg, people can see you’ve got a problem but when you’ve got mental problems there is nothing evident to people to show you need help.”

Celtic football manager Neil Lennon and All Blacks rugby union star John Kirwan have also talked openly about their depression. In this extract they say:

“It is embarrassing for many people to deal with, but admitting you are ill and getting help is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not shameful to have a nervous breakdown like it was in the old days. It’s nice just to let it out instead of keeping it in – because the more you keep it in, the worse it can be when it does come out.”

Former Premier League player Clarke Carlisle has spoken about how depression drove him to such despair he attempted suicide. In December, the sportsman jumped in front of a lorry in a bid to end his life. Miraculously, the 36-year-old escaped with cuts, bruising and a broken rib. His wife Gemma told fans that his survival was the “best Christmas gift we as a family could ask for”.

Admitting there is a problem is something sports people find extremely hard, not least because they are conditioned to be both physically and mentally tough.

When the going gets tough the tough get going. Depression is becoming more high profile due to the actions of these sports people and I salute them.

Please see below some useful links that you can look up such as ‘Mind’ counselling and ‘Samaritans’.

Relevant Links

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