Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

Be­ing heavy­weight cham­pion of the world taught me a lot, but it made me re­alise one thing above all – that every­thing you fight for, every­thing you dream of, every­thing you build up, can be snatched away in the blink of an eye. Let your guard slip, then boom, you are out.

It hap­pened to me on March 16, 1996, when Mike Tyson turned out the lights on my box­ing ca­reer. Then it hap­pened to my hap­pi­ness, health and lib­erty too.

I know my con­di­tion in­side out now. Bet­ter than any op­po­nent I faced in the ring. Peo­ple al­ways ask me: “How does it make you feel?”

I al­ways sigh. I’m not be­ing dif­fi­cult. But I will try to ex­plain.

When my ill­ness takes hold the world swings from high to low. I can see the change com­ing but I can’t stop it. It is like a force of na­ture – a hay­maker of a right hook that rocks me from side to side.

Have you ever been caught out­side in a hor­ren­dous storm and started pan­ick­ing that the strength of the wind might knock you off your feet? When my bipo­lar strikes it feels as if that wind is con­stantly push­ing me back.

My world is cov­ered by a fog. Lit­tle of what is go­ing on around me mat­ters. Light or dark. Day or night. Sum­mer or win­ter. The world I see will be the same shade of grey.

The hard­est thing is not know­ing when my con­di­tion will hit or how long it will stick around.

Box­ing was straight­for­ward. I trained. I pre­pared. I stepped in the ring. When I saw a punch com­ing I moved, quickly, or I de­fended my­self. Then, bang, I made sure I knocked out my op­po­nent be­fore he had the chance to reload.

My bipo­lar, though, ap­pears from the shad­ows and it is im­pos­si­ble to de­fend your­self against a punch you can’t see. I face it and I fight it. But even when I beat the crap out of it, I know deep down it may come back.

That’s what hap­pened in 2003 when I was sec­tioned for the first time. It came af­ter the most dis­tress­ing pe­riod of my life. My mar­riage had bro­ken down and my world col­lapsed. My wife Laura and my three kids moved out and sud­denly I was alone.

I was try­ing, and fail­ing badly, to cope with re­tire­ment from the ring.

Then in 2002 my for­mer trainer Ge­orge Fran­cis took his life. That was the fi­nal blow.

With­out my fam­ily around me, with my ca­reer over and my cor­ner­man gone, my men­tal health suf­fered. When they took me to Good­mayes Hos­pi­tal in Rom­ford on Septem­ber 22, 2003, I was kick­ing and scream­ing.

The treat­ment I re­ceived res­cued me. When I got out six weeks later I thought I’d come through the tough­est bat­tle of my life.

I was called “Bonkers Bruno” on the front of The Sun. Overnight my world changed. Sud­denly Frank Bruno, sport­ing hero, was now Frank Bruno, the man with a men­tal health prob­lem. Then came the news of the ul­ti­mate be­trayal. A few weeks af­ter I got out my man­age­ment team were ask­ing a lot of ques­tions about money. My ac­coun­tants were freak­ing out at the amount of cash fly­ing out of my ac­count. The

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.