Darren Eadie interview: Depression saw me turn my back on football

“I turned my back on football for several years,” says Darren Eadie. “It was not because I didn’t like the game. Simply because I loved it it was and that I could not do it . Imagine your fire – anything you get up for – and being told overnight you can not do it . Then being told it’s OK since you can still see your mates do it. It’s so tough.”
Retirement comes to every footballer but the end for Eadie came far sooner than he might ever have imagined.
He was a winger. When he became an inaugural member of the club’s hall of fame, he was still playing. However, knee injuries mared his move into Leicester. At 28, his career was over.
“It was more the shock than anything,” he informs Sky Sports. “I had had injuries to my knee always return from it I always believed I would come back from the next one. So to awaken from an operation and also now have my wife sat there along with the physio sat there and the surgeon sat there telling me that my livelihood was done at 28 was a gigantic shock.”
Eadie had made appearances that were 251 with 81 of those. He had been tipped for stardom as a youngster but he had been anticipating a long career before him even though his injuries had ensured those peaks were not going to be reached. Early retirement was not the strategy.
The plan had to change.
“It’s like being chucked out of a fish tank and suddenly you’re flailing around on the floor not knowing what to do. It is a very different environment. That was the difficulty for me. It was. It was that I was learning how to fit into society because it’s very different to being in a football changing room.
“You have this type of resilience for you as a footballer. In case you’ve got a poor game you tell yourself that there is always another game just around the corner and you will have the chance to put it. That’s how I attempted to handle it. Try to enjoy my retirement and I just went to put it behind me. But this quickly fades.
“It calls for different life skills and you need to understand that pretty quickly. I think placing it upon the back-burner, in hindsight, I was probably. I must have spoken to folks straight away. However, I bottled up everything, put away it, covered it up and tried to put a brave face on things once I went out. After a time, which takes its toll.”
Eadie suffered from melancholy.
There were even tears. Panic attacks. He could not leave the home. Other times he needed to call his wife to come and get him.
“It was a gradual process,” he clarifies. “In soccer, you will need a bit of anxiety to playwith. You require nervous tension. However, that was too much. I was making excuses to not observe folks. I made excuses to not go out. That is when you realise you’re getting deeper and stronger.
“There was a point when I hit rock bottom and also my wife was great at that moment. She had been having to take care of a child again. I became a person who was so needy. You wind up hanging on their every word. All it’d take is just one’wrong’ word and I would be down at the depths again so I think there should be more support for those families as well.”
Could soccer do much more to help?
“The problem when you complete early is that you’re a commodity. As much as they may value you once you are finished when you’re playing to them you are done. You can’t help them . I can comprehend that. It is a company enterprise. However, when you’re dealing with human beings there’s a bit more into it. You can’t treat people.
“Times have changed. The understanding is far superior than it had been rightly so. The way soccer sees it, even if you aren’t mentally strong you will be immediately discarded by a supervisor since you are not mentally perfect. They will say how they could help and his head isn’t right without considering the reasons for it, to play.
“I do think the PFA needs to do more. This is the largest sport in the world but I believe in dealing with those issues, rugby and cricket are. A whole lot of the time in football it’s just lip service. People today say what other people want to hear and don’t go back to it.”
Life stays tough for Eadie. He lost his mother to a sudden brain haemorrhage. Nevertheless, the positive for him is that he’s currently discovering a way to deal with what life throws at him. He is in a better place. “There are always things to handle in existence but general day-to-day life does not seem so bad anymore,” he states.
“You understand when you’re going through a terrible period. The fantastic thing is that when you’ve been through an episode before you know there is an end to it. The problem is whenever you are currently going through it first time, you’re going down and down, and you think there is not any ending to it. That is when individuals take their own lives.
“If you’ve got an episode and get through it, that’s when you discover they become more shorter, you can cope and you develop procedures to take care of this. I would recommend anyone who suffers those things and has those sort of thoughts to see somebody when possible. The more time you bottle it up, the longer you wait to visit a physician, the more challenging it is going to be.”
Eadie is now enjoying his role running a football programme at an independent school – at Ipswich of all places – and can be involved in a different venture that is exciting . He helped launch a new YouTube series FC Kitchen looking at meals and football in a way that was humorous, intending to raise awareness of the benefits of ingesting a diet.
“For those who have kids yourself you are inclined to consider the larger picture and attempt to be responsible,” he says. “So it’s a tie-in concerning veganism and eating less meat. I will always eat meat but it is just about providing an alternative and looking at how we could slow down our impact on the planet. We’re pitching vegans against cats ”
Eadie is getting fun again. His involvement in football is confined to his job at school . He is watching football again, after turning his back on the match. There is even a while for Norwich TV.
“It is normal to drift back into someplace you had pleasant occasions,” he adds. “I’m finding it enjoyable watching football again ”

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