I was shocked when I first heard about Gary Speed’s suicide because he seemed ‘ok’ everytime I saw him on tv. In fact in his last tv appearance on Football Focus below, he joked about dying. But then again, often when someone is depressed, even that person’s family members or best friends may not know because that person has done a very good job hiding it.
We know that despite many awareness campaigns about depression, some people still alienate those with depression because they assume that because it is a mental illness, it has something to do with a person’s sanity. Many don’t realise that you do not have to be insane to be depressed. Likewise, keeping yourself busy also doesn’t mean you won’t get depression. In fact, anyone can get depressed and as we’ve seen only yesterday, even rich and famous footballers are not immune. Collymore, Deisler, Enke and Pryers are just few players in top European leagues suffering from depression.
I hope that what happened to Speed will encourage more people, not just footballers to take depression seriously. I managed to get the following information on the symptoms of depression from the UK clinical-depression website:
• You feel miserable and sad.
• You feel exhausted a lot of the time with no energy.
• You feel as if even the smallest tasks are sometimes impossible.
• You seldom enjoy the things that you used to enjoy - you may be off sex or food or may 'comfort eat' to excess.
• You feel very anxious sometimes.
• You don't want to see people or are scared to be left alone. Social activity may feel hard or impossible.
• You find it difficult to think clearly.
• You feel like a failure and/or feel guilty a lot of the time.
• You feel a burden to others.
• You sometimes feel that life isn't worth living.
• You can see no future. There is a loss of hope. You feel all you've ever done is make mistakes and that's all that you ever will do.
• You feel irritable or angry more than usual.
• You feel you have no confidence.
• You spend a lot of time thinking about what has gone wrong, what will go wrong or what is wrong about yourself as a person. You may also feel guilty sometimes about being critical of others (or even thinking critically about them).
• You feel that life is unfair.
• You have difficulty sleeping or wake up very early in the morning and can't sleep again. You seem to dream all night long and sometimes have disturbing dreams.
• You feel that life has/is 'passing you by.'
• You may have physical aches and pains which appear to have no physical cause, such as back pain.
If any of the above symptoms sound familiar to you, please speak to your local GP. Don’t just assume that you’re feeling down at the moment and you will feel better tomorrow. Speak to your GP or the pastor at your local church if you’re more comfortable but take your ‘negative feelings’ seriously.