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

„I turned my back to football for many years,“ says Darren Eadiesaid „It was not because I didn’t like the match. Because I loved it it was and I could not do it anymore. Imagine your passion – anything you receive up for – and then being told you can’t do it. Then being told it’s OK since it’s still possible to watch your mates get it done. It is so tricky.“
Retirement comes to every footballer but the end for Eadie came much sooner than he could ever have imagined.
He had been a winger, including to allow those in Europe while still a teen. He was playing when he became the inaugural member of the club’s hall of fame. But knee injuries mared his move to Leicester. At 28, his career was over.
„It was more the shock than anything,“ he tells Sky Sports. „I’d had accidents to my knee always come back from it so I always believed I would return from the next one. So to wake up from a surgery and now have my wife sat there and the physio sat there and also the physician sat there telling me that my livelihood was completed at 28 was a large shock.“
Eadie had created 251 looks with 81 of those coming from the Premier League. He had been tipped for stardom as a youngster but he had been anticipating a long career before him, though his injuries had ensured those heights were not likely to be attained. Early retirement wasn’t the strategy.
The strategy needed to change.
„It’s like being thrown out of a fish tank and suddenly you are flailing around on the floor not knowing what to do. It is a different atmosphere. This was the issue for me. It wasn’t just that I was out of football. It had been that I was really learning how to fit into society because it’s extremely different to being in a football changing room.
„You have this kind of resilience for you as a footballer. Then you tell yourself that there is another game round the corner if you’ve got a game that is bad and you’ll have the opportunity to put it . That’s how I attempted to deal with it. Try to enjoy my retirement and I only went to put it behind me. But that quickly fades.
„It requires different life abilities and you have to understand that pretty fast. I think putting it on the back-burner, in hindsight, I was probably. I should have spoken to people right away. But I bottled everything up, put away it, covered it up and tried to put a brave face. After a time, which takes its toll“
Eadie suffered from depression.
There were tears. Panic attacks. He could not leave the home. Other times he had to call his wife to come and get him.
„It was a gradual process,“ he explains. „In football, you require a bit of anxiety to perform with. Nervous tension is needed by you. However, this was a lot. I made excuses not to observe folks. I made excuses not to go out. That’s when you realise you are becoming deeper and darker.
„There was a point when I hit rock bottom and also my spouse was wonderful at that time. She had been having to take care of a child again. I became a person who was so needy. You end up hanging on their every word. All it would take is just one’wrong‘ word and I would be down at the depths again so that I think there needs to be more support for those families as well.“
Could soccer do much more to help?
„The difficulty when you finish early is that you’re a commodity. As much as they might appreciate you when you’re finished whenever you are searching to them you are finished. You can not help them anymore. I am able to comprehend that. It’s a small business. But whenever you’re dealing with human beings there’s a little more to it than this. You can not treat people.
„Times have changed. The comprehension is so much superior than it had been rightly so. Because you are not emotionally perfect the manner football sees it, even if you are not emotionally strong then you will be quickly discarded by a manager. They will only say how they could help and his mind isn’t appropriate without thinking about the reasons for it, to perform.
„I really do think the PFA needs to do more. Here is the largest sport on the planet but I think in dealing with these issues, cricket and rugby are far ahead. A whole lot of the time in soccer it’s only lip service. People say what other people wish to listen and don’t go back to it“
Life remains challenging for Eadie. He lost his mother to a brain haemorrhage that was sudden. But the favorable for him is that he’s currently discovering a way to deal with what life throws at him. He is in a much better place. „There are always things to deal with in life but general daily life does not seem so bad anymore,“ he says.
„You learn when you are going through a terrible period. The thing is that if you have been through a event before you know there is an end to it. The issue is whenever you’re going the first time, you’re going down and down, and you think there is no end to it. That is when, regrettably, individuals take their own lives.
„If you’ve got an event and get it through, that is when you discover they become shorter, you can deal and you also develop procedures to deal with it. I’d urge anyone who suffers those items and has those kind of ideas to see somebody as soon as possible. The more time you bottle it up, the longer you wait to visit a doctor, the more challenging it is going to be.“
Eadie is currently enjoying his job running a football programme for an independent college – at Ipswich of all places – and can be involved in another venture that is new that is exciting also. He helped launch a YouTube series FC Kitchen appearing at food and football in a humorous manner, aiming to raise awareness of the advantages of ingesting a diet.
„For those who have kids yourself you tend to check out the bigger picture and attempt to be more responsible,“ he states. „So it’s a tie-in concerning veganism and eating less meat. I’ll probably eat meat but it is about looking at how we could slow down our impact and providing an alternative. We are pitching vegans against cats .“
Eadie is getting fun again. Pleasingly, his participation in soccer is limited to his job at school. He’s watching football again, after turning his back to the match. There is some work for Norwich TV.
„It is natural to drift back into somewhere you had nice times,“ he adds. „I’m finding it more enjoyable watching football again “

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