Depression is certainly no laughing matter and it is a problem that besets a high proportion of the population to a greater or lesser degree.
It is estimated that around one in every four people suffer to a greater or lesser degree from depression yet it still seems to be a taboo subject that is generally swept under the carpet and the insidious effects of this disorder can therefore so easily be ignored or diminished.
That is why the recent publication of a best selling book called “A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Renke” by Ronald Reng is so helpful.
This book tells the heart-rending story of former German international goalkeeper Robert Enke who fought off regular and serious bouts of depression over a six year period to become one of Germany’s finest goalkeepers of recent times but despite all the efforts of himself and his wife he was ultimately unable to throw off the shackles and demons of this terrible disease and killed himself on a level crossing.
The book illustrates so clearly the toll that depression can take on a public figure that seemed to the casual observer to have it all and everything to live for and brings into the spotlight the demands faced by top-level sportsmen.
“A Life Too Short” won awards as both The William Hill Sports Book of the Year and the Football Book of the Year at the British Sports Book of the Year Awards and in my view is essential reading.
Sportsmen are prone to fall victims of depression and David Frith’s magnificent yet shocking analysis of suicides amongst cricketers, “Silence of the Heart” shows that over 85 cricketers have died at their own hand including such well-known names as David Bairstow and Peter Roebuck.
Depression can strike anybody at any time and people from all walks of life can be and are affected by it.
All I can say is that the victims can see depression as a solitary and lonely affliction and one unique to themselves that they often find difficult to share or discuss with somebody else.
A problem shared, however difficult that first step might be, is perhaps one that might eventually be resolved or managed.
What are your thoughts on the subject? I’d be really interested to know in the comments section below…