John Mooney: The death of Phil Hughes recalls dark memories

The tragic death of Australian Test cricketer has brought my depression into stark perspective

Ireland’s John Mooney: his thoughts from his Facebook page is the December blog for aware.ie. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland’s John Mooney: his thoughts from his Facebook page is the December blog for aware.ie. Photograph: Inpho

 

Ireland international cricketer John Mooney admitted earlier this year he has been suffering from depression throughout his career.

Diagnosed three years ago, the 32-year-old found that the death of Australia batsman Phillip Hughes after he was hit on the neck by a delivery brought up memories of his own father dying on the cricket pitch.

On a pre-World Cup tour with Ireland in Dubai, Mooney posted his thoughts on Facebook last Friday after consulting his wife Helena. The charity Aware, for whom Mooney acts as an ambassador, also made it their December blog on aware.ie.

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It’s 6am and as most of us who suffer with depression will know it’s not uncommon to be up roaming around in a place that is very hard to describe to another person who does not suffer with this affliction.

I’m actually not feeling too bad, the reason I’m up so early is not because I can’t sleep, it’s because I was in bed so early.

I’m currently in Dubai on a training camp with 15 other players and a support staff of five who all know about my situation, but at times on this trip I could be here with a million people and it would still make no difference to the loneliness I have felt.

I was diagnosed nearly three years ago now and my ability to cope with my feelings and low moods has grown as every day passes.

There are many factors behind this and the biggest one is that I’m determined this will not beat me, it will not stop me from doing what I love.

Corrupted mind

I am so lucky to be in this space where I know I’m low but I also know it will pass. In two hours or so my teammates will be awake and I can use all their positivity and friendship to help me get through another day.

The main reason for me being in bed so early is my corrupted mind that for years to deal with, I would shove some kind of substance into my body to help take away the feelings of self-hate and pain that I have suffered with since my dad’s death when I was a boy.

To keep myself away from doing something I will regret I need to be in bed early, I need to switch my mind off as early as I can and get away from my corrupted thinking.

In the last few years I have attended many counselling sessions, group sessions, AA meetings and even tried meditation and they have all helped me to get to this point of acceptance that life goes on, life is good and that at times I’m not going to feel great. I can’t imagine there is anyone who feels great all the time.

We travelled out here on November 19th and from the minute we hit the airport I was feeling crap.

I had left my two girls and wife at home again and it just wasn’t sitting right with me. I spent the first few days fighting off the usual feelings of just giving up, throwing the towel in as they say.

They were followed up with the suicidal thoughts which were then followed up with the drown your sorrows in a heap of alcohol thoughts.

Hughes tragedy

But life has a way of putting things in perspective for you, and in the past few days the cricket world has been turned upside down due to the tragic death of one of the game’s top batsmen in Australia, Phil Hughes.

Hit on the head with a cricket ball at 80-plus mph. My dad also died playing cricket and the feelings that this has brought back to me are so raw and mixed I don’t know what to think.

For 20 odd years I’ve tried to tell myself “ah Dad died doing something he loved”. That might be true but it’s not fair and what has happened to Phil is just not fair.

My mood at some stage today will be low and tomorrow I will go through the same thing but I will hopefully still be here with a great family, with friends, with a job, with a future, a future which has been taken so tragically away from Phil.

I will do everything I can to make sure this illness doesn’t take me away from my future.

Anyone who reads this who also suffers with this curse of an illness please don’t act on your plans, please remember that life is precious and you are precious to someone, find that someone and let them help you.

My thoughts are with Phil Hughes at the moment, with his family, friends and team- mates, I know the loss they are suffering is devastating. I’m hoping that in heaven all the cricketers who have gone before us have welcomed him in and are enjoying his company, and that maybe he can teach my dad the cut shot.

Today I will not be acting on any of my thoughts, I will try and enjoy it as much as I can, I will not take one minute for granted and I will try and get as much out of it as I can.

I’m going to be positive, I will work hard and I will tell my family that I love them and I will put into practice everything I have learned over the last few years to help me do this.

Go raibh maith agat agus slán go foill

Johnboy

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