Footballer David Cox Opens Up On Depression

Footballer David Cox Opens Up On Depression


I was standing at the dugout and I could hear
a fan shouting “away and hang yourself and do it right this time.”
We were brought up in a culture where men don’t do this.
People would be saying “pull yourself together and be grateful for it” and it was almost
depressing in a way. It made me really down. I suffer from depression. Depression is with
me on a daily basis. It’s hard to try and explain how you feel
and to explain your feelings of depression or your mental health. It impacts everybody
in a totally different way. For me, it was a feeling of I wasn’t good
enough and a feeling of dread and sometimes I’d wake up in the morning and just didn’t
want to be here. From a young age I started self-harming, when
I was 15 maybe. I’ve got scars up and down my arms and my
chest. I took two overdoses. My mum found me twice and I actually tried
to hang myself at one point and my sister walked in on me.
I’ve managed to get a bit of support where I found myself getting better as well.
It’s been on and off but up until maybe two years ago, I was in hospital as well with
probably the most serious case of trying to end my life when I slit my throat.
In those situations, you don’t think about anything else other than how you’re feeling.
It’s just horrible and it’s the loneliest place you could ever imagine.
I used to wake up every day and think about how I was going to end my life and how I could
do it quick or how I could do it so it wouldn’t be painful, but then there was a bit in the
back of my mind about what I was leaving behind and how I would leave everybody else.
I remember coming off about five minutes before the game finished and I was standing at the
dugout and I could hear a fan shouting “go and hang yourself and do it right this time,”
and it’s horrible, do you know what I mean? I’ve had players telling me, “watch your
wrists” because they know I’ve slit my wrists and things like that and I mean you try to
speak to referees and they’ve actually waved it away as nonsense. “Give me peace,” that
kind of thing. I think for me, football caused more issues
with my mental health because once you get to that stage where you’ve done your bit and
it’s time to move on to the first team and if you’re not good enough then you’re basically
just shipped out without any kind of thought about it and you’re left to get on with things.
There’s always going to be a stigma in football because boys don’t want to come out with any
problems and feel inferior to any other boys in the dressing room or things like that because
you’ll get some boys that don’t want to understand and don’t bother with it but then you get
also the ones that want to help as well but football’s one of the toughest games out there
in terms of where you need to be mentally and physically because if you’re not on your
game then things can drop both mentally and physically for you very quickly.
There’s definitely a lot of people out there that don’t believe in mental health and you’ll
always get people that are like, “you’re just looking for attention” and “you need to
get a grip of yourself,” that kind of thing but, I didn’t go public for any attention.
I did it to help other people that are going through the same thing that I’ve been going
through and to let people know that it’s OK to not feel great sometimes and you’re not
the only person out there. Now I’m finding that I can use football as
a release, I can get away from that and I can go and enjoy it a wee bit more.

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