Freddie Flintoff, 42, is more than meets the eye. He’s known for being a cricket hero but behind the hero facade lies a sensitive soul, he’s an accomplished chess player and thinks deeply about the world. The star has been candid with his fair share of health problems. What are the symptoms?
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Not one to shy away from the struggles of mental health, Freddie has always been honest with his sometimes dark journey.
Speaking to GQ Magazine, Freddie said: “I feel as easy talking about the weather as I do mental health.
“It’s something which I experienced. It’s something I experienced well before I retired, I don’t even know when it started and I don’t really care.
“All I know is that it’s something which affects me, by talking to people it helps and I’m on medication.”
Freddie admitted that he knew something was not right early on in his career. Having his life be defined by being the strong, tough sportsman, initially made it difficult for him to come clean about his depression, choosing to run away from his problems instead. Finding solace in drinking, Freddie tried to escape until it all became too much for him to bear. It was finally after watching the documentary, The Hidden Side of Sport with other sports stars including Ricky Hatton, Neil Lennon and Graeme Dott who spoke about their mental health struggles that Freddie finally felt comfortable enough to speak out about his own demons.
Discussing how taking medication for his depression is similar to taking medicine for an injury, Freddie explained: “Same as when my knee hurt, I’d have an anti-inflammatory.
“I see it as exactly the same. Some people find it hard to talk about.
“I don’t see it like that because to me my depression affected maybe 15-20 percent of my life and the rest of it’s great.
“But through talking about it and getting help, I know how to deal with it.”
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What is depression and what are the symptoms?
The Mayo Clinic said: “Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.
“It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.
“Depression may require long-term treatment. But don’t get discouraged.
“Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.
“Symptoms of depression could include feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness, angry outbursts, irritability, frustration, even over small matters, loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, sleep disturbances, tiredness, reduced appetite or weight gain, anxiety, agitation or restlessness.”
“The depression isn’t particularly pleasant but I don’t feel the urge to drink and I don’t feel the urge to do something to try to change my state of mind.
“I’m actually quite comfortable with it and now people come up to me and say, ‘Wow’ and then they’d start telling me how they feel,” said Freddie.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with depression, it’s important to speak with your GP about the best treatment options out there for you and to remember to talk about it with close friends and family.
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