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Gloucestershire wicketkeeper Gareth Roderick has spoken out on World Mental Health Day on his journey and how help is available to all PCA members
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Gareth Roderick has written the following blog to reveal the mental health struggles he, and his family have suffered with in the past 12 months.
Today is World Mental Health Day, an important day in the calendar to help people, just like myself, talk openly about their everyday struggles.
It was almost a year ago I received the worst phone call possible.
My Mother told me that Dad had taken his own life, it was my darkest day and something I will always live with.
Since then I have faced my own problems, not only trying to come to terms with the reality, but being on the receiving end of my own dark thoughts, depression is not just something my dad suffered with as I would like to explain…
I’ll forever be grateful to the old man, he was immensely proud of me, I was immensely proud of him, he was a great Dad.
He’s raised three great girls below me and him and my Mum together forged a family bond and a household which was a great place to grow up.
I am what I am now because of the sacrifices he made growing up to put me in places where I probably shouldn’t have been. He bent his back to point me in the right direction and he was the first person I phoned after Gloucestershire told me they were going to give me a contract.
However, things changed in 2017 and I contacted my Personal Development Manager Mark Wallace on a pretty dark day when I got a phone call from my Mother saying my Dad had been hospitalised, he’d had a mental breakdown.
He’d been suffering from undiagnosed depression for a good few months and then in November of last year, I got a phone call from my Mother telling me that Dad had passed away, he’d taken his own life.
The girls had walked in to find him in his bedroom.
Being halfway across the world and not being able to help and not being there, you know, the immediate kinds of emotions I felt was guilt and anger.
Here I am living my dream playing cricket and I’m not there for the people that matter most and I care about most.
Fifteen minutes later I was getting bombarded with messages from the Professional Cricketers’ Trust, ‘can we do this, can we do that, can we help’?
They offered straight away to help with flights, they offered straight away to send my partner with me, told me to take as much time as I could and it was overwhelming the support that I got from just a simple phone call.
I was down in a very low place and I got a hand to pull me out and I’ll never forget it.
The Trust referred me to someone in Bristol and I had an appointment and I sat down and started talking about where I was at in my head.
Every time I’d find myself alone, whether it be for five minutes or a few hours, some dark thoughts would come creeping in.
Depression is not just something my dad suffered with, and that’s an emotional battle for a while as well.
I spoke to my doctor about it as well and it’s something that I know I’ve got to keep on top of because it can quite easily come creeping up on you if you’re not proactive with it. It’s something that, through talking to my doctors, I think my partner’s understood and it’s helped me communicate with my partner a lot better.
Lisa and I are now engaged and the support she has also received from the Trust has been amazing. She has come with me to my sessions and she’s also had a few sessions on her own, trying to figure out what’s going on in my head.
She’s obviously dealing with her own emotions from what’s happening, that’s obviously taken a toll mentally on her and she’s been afforded the same help that I have, which if you think about it is crazy, and to get that level of support is fantastic.
The Trust has certainly shined a light on ways I should be thinking, things I should be thinking of, spending time on the right things in my life. Spending the right amount of time playing cricket, the right amount of time looking after your family and looking after yourself. I can’t look after my family if I’m a big mess upstairs.
It’s something I know I’m going to have to keep working on but, the PCA and the Trust have made my life a lot easier.
Gloucestershire have been awesome, they didn’t put any pressure on me to come back to start training or anything like that, they told me to take as much time off as I needed. From the county game to the PCA, the Trust to your team mates, I think cricket’s in a really healthy state.
Any donation does get used and I think we as players see where that money goes and we see it goes into the game.
To be back here playing again, that wouldn't have happened if it wasn’t for the PCA and for the Professional Cricketers’ Trust.
The PCA and the Professional Cricketers’ Trust are helping in every way possible, in more ways than I can explain, I’ll forever be grateful.
I would urge any players, past or present who are going through a difficult time to contact the Trust. You can speak direct to any member of staff like I did, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Confidential Helpline on 08448006873.
For more information on the Professional Cricketers Trust, click here.