Jockey speaks openly of battle with depression

Feb 28, 15 Jockey speaks openly of battle with depression

MARK ENRIGHT returns to the track at Gowran Park this week with a weight off his mind and confident he is winning his battle with depression write Jonathan Mullins in the

The 22-year-old from Limerick last rode on New Year’s Day and last won the day before, on The Job Is Right, who he rides in the Goffs Thyestes Chase on Thursday. But the reason for his near three-week absence is far more serious than first thought.

“The story was I had a problem with my appendix but I would rather everyone knew because I don’t want to be lying to people,” he said. “The truth is I’ve been struggling with depression, I’ve been in therapy and thankfully now feel on top of the world and ready to get back riding.

“I told a good few people and enough know that it can’t be reeled back in but lots of people don’t know.

“I’m just a little worried about going back into the weighroom on Thursday and I’d be kind of paranoid people would be looking at me and I’d be wondering if they knew. It’s only a little worry, whereas a month ago something like that would have been a huge problem. For me, that’s progress, everybody will know – and move on.”

Enright estimates his depression stretches back to 2013 and, while he doesn’t see one thing triggering the illness, he noticed a gradual withdrawal, that was accentuated when his boss Dessie Hughes died in November.

“Dessie’s passing affected me. If there was a little problem here or there I could go to him and ask him to have a look at a race and tell me what he thought and he always came back with something positive that I could take away. But when he died I had nobody to go to,” he said.

“I’d come home in the evenings from work and even though I might have had a great day, I’d just feel down. When I was on my own I’d sink deeper and deeper and the past few months I knew there was something wrong and I went very low for a while.

“I had no motivation, I didn’t want to get out of bed, didn’t want to go riding out. I was whinging about going racing – and none of that is me. No one thing triggered it, it was the hand I was dealt.”

It was a chat with his friend, and jockeys’ championship leader Mark Walsh, that started the comeback.

Enright, who has ridden 23 winners from 187 rides this season, said: “About two and a half weeks ago I came and spoke with Mark and thankfully he knew what I was trying to say and he rang Dr Adrian McGoldrick [Turf Club medical officer].

“That evening Mark, Bryan Cooper and Robbie McNamara all came over to my house and we talked and I got a lot off my chest. I’ve been in therapy since and I’m a new man. I have a long road ahead but I know I’m on the right road. Since I spoke about it there has been a huge turnaround and I’d like to thank my friends and family, and Dr McGoldrick, for all their help.”


For links to this article by Jonathan Mullin in please (CLICK HERE)


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