How Marvin’s battle with depression has brought recognition of the issue from Brewers boss
PLAYER OPENS UP ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
A BURTON Albion football star has spoken openly about his battles with depression, in the hope of helping others who are going through similar circumstances.
Marvin Sordell has said that he has faced many problems in the football world and, at his lowest point, even tried to take his own life.
Now, his manager, Nigel Clough, has said that he hopes other plays will be able to identify with Marvin and his struggles and will know to get help when they need it.
The striker, who has played in the Premier League for Bolton Wanderers and Burnley, told the Guardian how writing a book and poems have helped him to deal with his mental health issues, which in August 2013 became so difficult he tried to kill himself. The 27-year-old said: “On one occasion, I tried to overdose on tablets. I took all these tablets and went to sleep. It didn’t work, thankfully. When I woke up I was shocked, annoyed. Some people would say, in that situation, they feel born again. I just thought, ‘what now?’
I was so drained. People think I should be fine. I’d played at the Olympics and the European Under21 Championship, played in the Premier League, on good money. But it didn’t feel like that.
“I went to training the day after. I didn’t tell anyone. The first time anybody really understood was when I sent my book to my friends, my mum, my sister and my wife.
“The only person who knew I was struggling was my wife. But when she read the book she said: ‘I didn’t know it was that bad.’”
Nigel Clough said Marvin is supported by the club and hopes other footballers will relate to his story.
He said: “I’ve not experienced it, but there must be an element of that where they think, ‘I’m feeling like this and nobody else is.’ And all of a sudden, they find out that there are other footballers who do.
“People think you’re earning an awful lot of money, you’ve got this, you’ve got that. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with it, your status or your earnings or anything like that. If you feel like that, you feel like it.
“But as a club, we are signed up to the mental health charter, ourselves and the Burton Albion Community Trust. So we do everything we can to look after the whole club: the staff, the players, everything that we can.”
Marvin says writing gives him chance to get his feelings out there when he is feeling low and he particularly likes to write poems.
On World Mental Health Day 2017, he tweeted one of his first poems called Denis Prose and was met with praise for his writing.
He said: “I wanted to make depression real so people can understand how you are fighting for control over yourself.
“Depression consumes you and sometimes you submit to it. Lots of emotions snowballed and became one big thing inside me.
“It felt like I was being overtaken by another entity. It was then that I wrote Denis Prose.
“The poem follows my journey from the training ground to my home. I wanted to personify the
emotion while the car represents my body. Inside the car we have myself and a passenger, Denis Prose, representing two sides of my consciousness.
“The journey starts on a sunny day but it becomes dark and rainy. There is a shift in emotion and a struggle for power. Denis Prose takes charge.”
In 2017, there were 5,821 cases of people taking their own lives across the UK, and the number had decreased for the third year in a row.
While the decrease has mainly occurred in men, they still account for three quarters of all cases.
If you need help, these are the organisations to contact: Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org CALM (0800 58 58 58) – a helpline for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason.
Childline (0800 1111). PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) – a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal
Depression Alliance depressionalliance.org
Burton Albion’s Marvin Sordell, left, has spoken frankly about his mental health issues. Below, from left, Marvin in action for the Brewers, his manager Nigel Clough, and playing in the Premier League for Burnley