With FA Cup games kicking off a minute later than normal to highlight mental health issues, Paul Merson has revealed that this time last year he was suicidal.
Paul Merson is a pundit most like to mock due to the way he mispronounces names and generally acts like a bit of a fool.
His past with The Tuesday Club is well documented, but the former Arsenal man has revealed a darker side in a heartbreaking interview ahead the FA’s campaign this weekend to raise awareness around mental health issues.
“On Monday I’ll have been sober for a year. But this time last year, I wanted to kill myself,” Merson wrote in his Daily Star column.
“I couldn’t go on any more. I just couldn’t see a way out. I had the tablets in my hand.
“I didn’t take enough to do anything but I had them there. With vodka. It was scary.
“It was only because of the kids really, and my wife, and a little bit of consciousness, that I didn’t.
“Fear probably as well. I was scared to do it. When you’re in that place, you don’t see how it’s ever going to pass. But I have the tools now.
“If I get into a real down situation, I know it will pass.
“I don’t want to kill myself any more. I don’t have those thoughts. I’m not carrying the world on my shoulders. Walking around with guilt.
“I’m not beating myself up, drinking and gambling all the time and asking why I’m doing this to myself.
“It’s only now I know. I have an illness. I have a mental illness. I’ve accepted that now. Before, I used to beat myself up all the time.
“If I have one piece of advice to give to people – talk. Nothing ever gets better if you don’t talk. Once you talk to people you start seeing the light.
“I ring people up and tell them if I don’t feel good. Before, I sat indoors, pulled the curtains, and I’d watch the phone ring.
“This is the best thing I’ve ever done. I was in bed on New Year’s Eve by 9.30. I went to an AA meeting, came home, watched The Sting and went to bed.
Mental health issues are something we are keen to highlight here on Daily Cannon with our own Stephen Bradley posting his personal tale every year on World Suicide Awareness Day.
It’s something, as a society, we need to get more comfortable talking about and frankly, brutally honest interviews like this help immensely.
Just recently, Emma Mitchell, who has just moved to Spurs on loan, also documented her own struggles with depression and mental health issues.
If you feel like you might need to talk to someone, you can contact The Samaritans, from any phone, on 116 123 for 24/7 confidential support or you can visit their website at www.samaritans.org. Even if your brain is telling you that your problem is too ‘trivial to bother someone with,’ there will be someone at the other end of the phone only too willing to listen.
When it comes to mental health, we all need to take it a lot more seriously. Nothing is ever ‘too trivial’.