Neil Lennon opens up about mental health battle on Ray D’Arcy Show

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has discussed his battle with depression on the Ray D’Arcy Show, writes Steve Neville.

Lennon was 29 when he was diagnosed.

He said: "It was very difficult to deal with at the time because I was young, fit, healthy and had everything you want in life. It is an illness and it doesn’t just affect you mentally, it affects you physically as well."

Lennon revealed he didn’t tell his teammates about his depression until he had recovered from it.

"Everyone has their own individual episodes of it and how they deal with it.

"Mine is I flat line. I have no emotion, I don’t want to do anything. Everything I treat with apathy.

"I don’t enjoy anything like food, even a beer. I just don’t enjoy anything I would normally enjoy in life."

Lennon said it was important to recognise that the negative thinking or ’catestrophic thoughts’ are just thoughts.

"What you learn to do is try and stay in the present as much as you possibly can and not think about the past or think about what may or may not happen in the future."

Lennon also spoke about receiving death threats as a player with Northern Ireland, discussing how he retired after a threat against his life in 2002 while he was captain of the team before a game against Cyprus.

"I couldn’t keep going back in case it happened again. There was no guarantees that it would stop.

"And the other thing was every time I went back the story would be about me and not the team. The Northern Ireland team is bigger than that. I felt I didn’t need the hassle anymore."

You can listen to the full interview below.

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by mental health issues you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.


 

By Steve Neville

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