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COYS! Putting Down The Black Dog

It’s 10pm, Monday 25th February 2013 at Upton Park. Spurs have just snatched all 3 points, with a screamer of a goal from Gareth Bale in the last minute against fierce rivals West Ham. The away end has gone mad with jubilation, “We love you Tottenham we do, We love you Tottenham we do” is all that can be heard at a near empty stadium. 

I am feeling on top of the world, this must be the greatest day of my life and surely secures Champions League football again next season. If only this feeling of enjoyment and pleasure could last for years to come, it doesn’t though.

I have a serious mental illness that often prevents me from coping with life. Its called Depression. The biggest taboo subject in the male world, and like one 1 in 4 of the adult population, I suffer from it big time.

I realise now that despite only being diagnosed with the illness towards the end of 2011, following some serious problems I was experiencing at work, I have suffered from major depression for years.

Depression is like being in your own world of hell that you cannot see a way out from, its more than just being sad from time to time. The only way out is to consider taking steps to end your own life. When I was at my worst, I remember thinking that I hoped to be involved in fatal car accident or diagnosed with an incurable disease. I know this sounds ridiculous and it is, but when you are in this dark place, these sorts of worrying thoughts seem perfectly reasonable solutions to solve a problem.

Depression. The biggest taboo subject in the male world, and like one 1 in 4 of the adult population, I suffer from it big time.

It affects your life in many ways, from being afraid to open the front door to the postman, to suddenly not communicating with anyone, particularly those who are closest to you. I stopped eating, stopped caring about my appearance and couldn’t even face walking out of the front door, let alone going to work. I really was in hell and couldn’t see any way out of it, except to give into the suicidal thoughts I was having, which of course I did not want to do for the sake of my family and friends.

You are probably thinking: How is this relevant to Spurs?

After trying all traditional forms of treatment, such as anti-depressant medication, talking therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy and taking regular exercise, I re-kindled a love affair with the football club I have supported all my life, the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.

After a 13-year break from being a regular down at the Lane, when I was a season ticket holder in the late 90′s, at the beginning of the 2012/13 season I re-joined as a bronze member. There was no chance of reclaiming my lost season ticket, so like many of you I started booking tickets to matches again.

All of a sudden I noticed my mood lifted massively. The thought of knowing that I would be going to see Spurs play at the weekend gave me something to look forward to and get excited about. It also changed my outlook on life. Previously I had always thought that I lived to work and pay the household bills, but this changed. Suddenly I felt that I worked to live and I was completely justified in using some of my monthly salary to go and do something I really enjoyed. A good result and a thrilling performance by the team on the pitch, gave me a lift, but even more so it was the camaraderie. It was the joy of singing and celebrating a goal with my fellow supporters in the Park Lane lower.

Soon afterwards, I was told by a fellow supporter about the 1882 movement and what it stood for. This helped me to make friends with fellow supporters, share opinions and debate about everything Spurs online.

A good result and a thrilling performance by the team on the pitch, give me a lift, but even more so it was the camaraderie

I attended my first 1882 event at Underhill in April 2013, the day after the fantastic 3-1 comeback win, over Man City at White Hart Lane. On the last day of the season though, when we just missed out to Woolwich for that fourth place, I was gutted and devastated.

I was back in that dark place again, it was like the end of the world, thankfully though I got through it. As soon as the fixtures for the new season were announced, and the great signings Spurs were making came to fruition, I was once again feeling better and full of optimism for the season ahead.

Nowadays through the support of my family, my GP, fellow supporters, work colleagues and Spurs, I manage my mental health much better. By combining this support with anti-depressant medications and taking regular exercise, I consider myself to be on the level and ‘normal,’ if there is such a thing.

A Spurs win always helps as well, and hopefully there will be many more of these to come this season. COYS.

@david_winsley

This article was syndicated with kind permission from the Fighting Cock website.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

One Response to this article

  1. Hi there,

    I am a friend and previous work colleague of David. Unfortunately mental health issues are usually a taboo subject especially in men, society labels men as being macho and manly so are not suppose to be stressed, depressed or have any emotional feelings. This article David has written should be an inspiration to all especially men, some women also find it difficult coming to terms that they have a mental illness.

    It would be good if tottenham as a football club raised this issue more, after all most of their fans are men. Let’s be positive about mental health, give it air space, and prove that society recognises this decease and wants to help in its management and wellin-being of others.

    Well done David, I know that speaking out the way you have must have been hard and a good step to recovery.

    Debora

    Debora Wright 12th October 2013 at 10:25 pm

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