A Former Cricket Star Talks of Struggles with Mental Health

William Kellogg
June 16, 2019

The Former England team batsman Robin Smith has come out to speak openly and candidly about his struggles with addiction and depression, also revealing how he came close to ending his own life.

While speaking to the Daily Mail,  ‘The Judge’ which was his nickname during his playing days, said he had actually decided to kill himself after to much of alcohol which had consumed his life after he stopped playing.

“This wasn’t a situation of, whether I was going to kill myself but when the exact time to do it,” Smith said. “I was a couple of days away from killing myself because I couldn’t just take it any longer.”

it was during his trip to London, where he was promoting his autobiography, “The Judge, putting pen to paper, talking about his career as one of English team’s most popular players, and the struggles that drove him to the edge of suicide after he retired.

“I’d worked hard at visualising bowling a cricketer and now this helped me visualised exactly what I was going to do. I was very comfortable about it because I thought is usually put a lot of people out of their misery.

“I never had the feeling of recovering from the thought of the things I did or the guilt of losing my kids l,  which was the last thing I wanted as a parent”

A native of Durban, South Africa, Mr Robin made his debut as an English player against the West Indies in 1988 and went on to play over 62 test matches making over 4000 runs in the process.

He played his final test against the country h was born in( southafica) in 1996 and continued to represent English Hampshire until his retirement in 2003.

“This game (Cricket) was my entire life, and even though i knew  it was always going to come to end at some stage, that didn’t make it any easier to cope with retirement, “Smith who was now emotional said.“Once I was no longer part of the unity that comes with the dressing room, it became difficult for me to cope.

“I felt, rightly or wrongly, that I could have had another year or so in the game and it took me a while to get over that.”

Upon his relocation to Australia, coupled with unsuccessful and shady business ventures, this was what contributed to Smith’s deteriorating mental health.

“At those times, I always had this feeling that alcohol was the only solution that could get me through each day,” he admitted.

“I always enjoyed my pints when I was actively playing cricket but when I retired I wasn’t engaging in training regimes and so I started putting on some weight , so I decided to start taking a gin(Vodka) which I felt was the right idea at that time. Eventually I went into drinking doubles and triples.”

Mr Robin also revealed that the only thing that stopped him from committing suicide was the support he was getting  from his son at that time and also finding love with his new partner.

“I was slowly approaching the right time to carry it out(i.e taking my own life) before my son found me crawled up in Barry Richards’ apartment. He reminded that me I still had their love and that made me sit down and think.

“also I met karin in the same apartment block where I had gone to live with my parents.

“She had no idea who I was because she had no knowledge of cricket — well, that was good for me because she was ready to help me with who I am rather than who I used to be. With her help, love and encouragement I’ve been able to get through it.

Mr Robin now know that being open about his problems will help with his ongoing recovery process, as well as trying to help 2others facing this similar issues.

“I was very concerned about opening my heart to the world because it can be quite difficult to let people into my life, the good and the bad. But I was encouraged by Karin and I thought to myself it will be motivating for anyone with this same issues to get to hear about my problems out there.

“I’ve done away with everything now and I beat my chest and move on. It’s been very good for me to pour my heart out unto these pages.”

William Kellogg

William Kellogg is a veteran writer who's covered the subject of the intersection of technology, health and mental wellness for nearly two decades.

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