Jason McAteer – Retirement Lead To A “Deep Depression”

Oct 11, 13 Jason McAteer – Retirement Lead To A “Deep Depression”
After retiring from the game in 2007, his life descended into crisis.Gary Doyle (www.thestar.ie) interviews Jason McAteer and discusses the mental demons he battled when he retired from Football. McAteer talks about how so many players have absolutely no future planned out for themselves once they hang up their boots.  Not managing to find something to fill the huge gap left by football, the ex-Bolton and Liverpool ace found himself in a dark place.

But after receiving counselling and finally facing up to his demons – McAteer, whose winning goal for Ireland against Holland in 2001 has gone down in Irish folklore – has got his life back on track.

He said: “In football, you go into work and you’ve got 25 mates.

“You’ve got a doctor and a dentist right there – and there’s even a fella who does your mortgage.

“You’ve got a fella who will turn on your washing machine if you want to!

“Agents make sure that your life is where it should be and coaches tell you where to be at a certain time.

“You’re in a big bubble, everything is done for you – you’ve got a great contract and a few bob in your back pocket and you don’t envisage that it will ever come to an end.

“But then it comes to the end of the season and your contract runs out. You leave work and it’s great for the first day because you can have a lie-in, take it easy and do what you want.

 

Jump high after scoring one of the most important goals in Irish Soccer History - Picture by www.theguardian.com

Jump high after scoring one of the most important goals in Irish Soccer History – Picture by www.theguardian.com

 

“You think you’re on your own because you’ve lost your security.

“The first weekend is great because you meet up with your mates, go on the ale and have a laugh.

“The second weekend is also great because you get away somewhere nice and play a bit of golf. You go on the ale again and have a laugh with your mates again.

“Then all of a sudden you come to the sixth weekend and the lads are back training. That’s when you start missing it and that’s when your problems begin.

“You start thinking, ‘Where do I go? What do I do?’

“Your brain gets a little bit lost and you end up in a world of pain. With depression, it’s not like a broken arm when you have a cast on and everyone can see it. It’s like no one can see it.”

Crucially for McAteer, 42, his mum, a qualified counsellor, saw what was happening and encouraged him to seek professional help – a move that proved vital to his recovery.

Three years on, his life is on a steady path again – and he wants to help other ex-players come to terms with life after football.

He added: “Focusing on your problems is the big thing really.

“I used to get a problem and think it was the end of the world and let it get on top of me.

“I had lost touch, really, of who I was. You just think doom and gloom and nobody cares. It’s not about the money. You think you’re on your own because you’ve lost your security.

“It was like I was a different person back then. I look back now and wonder how I got in that state, thankfully I’m better now.

“But other players can’t hide away from the signs.

“You have to confront the issues and deal with them the right way.”

Full Interview to Daily Star can be found here (Please Click Here)

 

 

Ireland hero Jason McAteer has spoken of the deep depression he went through when he quit football (Part 2)

 

McAteer playing for Liverpool - Picture by www.dailymail.co.uk

McAteer playing for Liverpool – Picture by www.dailymail.co.uk

 

Part 2 by the (www.sundayworld.com)

In 2007, soon after he left a football dressing room for the last time, he fell into a downward spiral that saw him spend hours in the bath every day just to kill time.
In September 2001, McAteer scored a goal against Holland that shook Lansdowne Road to its very foundations and sent Ireland on their way to a third ever World Cup.
Others have turned to drugs or gambling away their life’s earnings, but McAteer’s face pulls a slight grin when he explains what habit he developed.
“I’m not a drinker, no, but I got to the point where, you might find it funny, but I couldn’t get out of the bath,” he says.
“I used to have six or seven baths a day. I used to get in the bath just for something to do. I’d think to myself, ‘ah, I’ll have a bath now’.
“I’d give it another half a hour and then think ‘I’ll have another bath’. I couldn’t get out of the bath for some reason. It was mad. You’re trying to kill time and that’s what it was like in the bath.”
You might think that the time could be filled by reliving some glorious memories of the past – Lansdowne Road, Giants Stadium, Anfield…
“No, you lose touch of all that,” he counters. “You lose touch really of who you are and where you’ve come from and all the good times. You just think doom and gloom and nobody cares.
“It’s not about the money, it’s focussing on problems and thinking they’re bigger than they are.”
Thanks in no small part to his mother, McAteer is back enjoying a healthy and busy life, with his bubbly personality and storytelling abilities ensuring regular media slots in Ireland, Britain and beyond.
With an October wedding to fiancé Lucy on the horizon, the bad days seem a long way away, and speaking now, he struggles to explain just how he dropped so low.
“When you do get yourself back on the straight and narrow everything rationalises again and you think ‘how did I get there?’”
‘Professional footballer’ was McAteer’s occupation for almost 16 years, from when he first signed for Bolton Wanderers in 1991 as a 20-year-old until his retirement in 2007.
He made almost 600 appearances for club and country, pulled on the red shirt of his childhood heroes Liverpool, won 52 caps for Ireland and played in two World Cups.
Affectionally known as one of the Liverpool ‘Spice Boys’, this ‘cheeky chappy’ was more than just an off-field entertainer, and his total transfer value reached over €10m. But this lifestyle came to an end when he retired.
“There’s no network of friends, your mates aren’t around because they’re at work so you find yourself lost. You just can’t focus properly,” he explains.
“Thankfully my mum is from a counselling background with her work and she saw the signs.
“You try to put a brave face on, don’t you? You don’t want people seeing that you’re upset or not well so it comes to the point where it’s not you, it’s somebody else and you can’t hide your emotion anymore.
“My mum picked up on the signs and I went to see somebody who put me on the straight on narrow. I would say she saved my life.”
“In football, you go into work and you’ve got 25 mates,” McAteer adds. “You’ve got a doctor on tap, a fella who does your mortgage, an agent who will make sure your life is where it should be and a coach telling you where to be at certain times.
“You’ve got this bubble, everything is done for you. You’ve got a great contract and a few bob in your back pocket and you don’t envisage that it will ever come to an end.
“But then it comes to the end of the season and your contract runs out. You leave work and it’s great for the first day because you can have a lie-in and do what you want.
The first weekend is great because you meet up with your mates, go on the ale and have a laugh.
“The second weekend is great because you get away somewhere nice and play a bit of golf. You go on the ale again and have a laugh with your mates again.
“Then all of a sudden you come to the sixth weekend and the lads are back training. That’s when you start missing it and that’s when the problems begin.
“It’s like, you have all this time and you’re thinking ‘where do I go? What do I do?’ Your brain gets a little bit lost and you end up in a world of pain.”

 Full Interview link to Sunday World can be found here (Please Click Here)

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