Brighton & Hove Albion winger Anthony Knockaert has revealed that he was suffering from depression last season but that he is now happy again.
The Frenchman received counselling following the break-up of his marriage and death of his father, which had left Knockaert in a “really bad way”, “feeling “scared” and “crazy” and “always in a bad mood, arguing with people”.
Knockaert, 26, played a pivotal role in the Seagulls’ promotion to the Premier League with 15 goals in 45 games before his form slumped last season, when he scored scoring three times in 33 league outings.
“When I lost my dad, the most important thing for me was my wife and my baby, even if my mum was still here, she lives in France,” Knockaert told the Argus newspaper.
“They were the people that I needed and six months later, I realised that they weren’t here anymore and just went through a depression.
“I spoke with Bruno [club captain] last December and said ‘listen, I can’t keep going like this’. And Bruno went to see the manager, the manager came to talk to me and said we are going to get you a counsellor and since it happened I’ve started to be a bit better and better, she helped me a lot.
“I saw her for a good few months and since then I’m really happy again.”
Knockaert hopes that by talking about his situation he can encourage others suffering from depression to seek help.
“I just want to leave a message to footballers and just people in general that as soon as they are going through this it’s really important to go and talk to someone and not be scared,” he said.
“The worst is you never think it will go away, that you will be like this for the rest of your life.
“I was making myself scared, thinking I was starting to become crazy. I was always in a bad mood, arguing with people. That wasn’t my fault, I was going through a bad period and just didn’t control anything else.
“That’s why it was important in my eyes to let other people know, if they are going through stuff like this, to help them, to let them know there is no shame and to talk to someone because you never know what can happen in your life.