A voice in my head told me I didn’t want to be in the world...
Ricky Hatton on depression fight
BOXING legend Frank Bruno is on a new crusade to smash stigma surrounding mental ill health.
In his new book, Let Me Be Frank, the 55-year-old tells how he finally managed to recover from bipolar disorder. The boxer has also backed our Time to Change campaign for better mental health care.
But he isn’t the only star to suffer. Here, in a harrowing extract from Frank’s book, his friend and former World Champion Ricky Hatton, 39, tells of his own battle. And the day he nearly took his life. To see what Frank has gone through breaks my heart. If someone put me in a hospital and locked the door I’d have probably tried to smash it down.
But Frank battled his illness like a champion. He stood and fought it. In the end he won.
That was not a surprise to me – he is a warrior.
I was proud that only a few weeks after Frank came out of hospital in 2015 he decided to pop into my gym in Manchester.
We took a picture and put it on Twitter. Christ, it nearly broke the bloody internet. It was nice to see people still cared.
“Maybe we could both come back,” I joked to him that day.
But Frank knows those days are over. It is not easy. When the fans go home you are alone.
Frank found it tough and I found it tough. When you are in that ring with thousands screaming at you, you can take on the world.
But this problem called depression, you don’t want to take on.
All of a sudden, there’s a voice in your head telling you that you don’t even want to be in the world, let alone take it on.
Frank says ending his life has never crossed his mind. I wish I could say the same.
My depression started after I lost to Floyd Mayweather. It was terrible. Then I fought Juan Lazcano and I was back up. I fell out with my trainer, Billy Graham, then I was down. Then I beat Paulie Malignaggi and I was up. But then I fell out with my parents and I was down again.
My mind was going up and down so much I didn’t know whether I was coming or going half the time.
For a short while, I didn’t care whether I lived or died.
I thought about killing myself several times. I used to go down the pub, come back, take a knife out and sit there in the dark crying my eyes out. Drink was my demon. Then drugs. There were times I thought: “Sod this, I will just drink myself to death.”
I felt like I had let everyone down.
My family and friends had to see me go through it and were helpless. But that’s the past. It is so important not to be afraid to talk about how you feel. If two fellas like Frank and I can talk about their feelings anyone can.
I don’t care now when people ask about my depression.
You have got to be open and honest and, like Frank says, you should not feel ashamed about asking for a bit of help.
Frank’s book, published by Mirror Books, is on sale across the UK. Visit his foundation at thefrankbrunofoundation.co.uk
HIS STORY Frank’s book DARK TIMES Ricky thought about suicide