Football

Northern Irish Striker Billy Kee Opens Up About Battle With Depression

Northern Irish Striker Billy Kee Opens Up About Battle With Depression

"I was rocking on the bed crying, and I wasn't enjoying it. I wanted to quit."

These are the words of Northern Irish striker Billy Kee, who opened up in an interview with BBC today on his mental health problems over the past year.

Kee plies his trade with Accrington Stanley in League Two and detailed how he had to take time off in order to deal with depression, anxiety and bipolar syndrome.

(The manager) just said go and have a month off. I made my mind up in the end, I wasn't enjoying it, I just wanted to quit. I moved back in with mum and dad and my dad went 'you're not sitting around, mate. If you want to be in the real world you've got to come in the real world.' My dad thinks I'm the luckiest person in the world to have the job I've got and he went 'get on the building site.'

Within three weeks I was back at football. It made me realise I'm so lucky to be where I've got to. Don't be chucking that away for an illness.

Kee disclosed that he is on medication in order to help with his depression:

"It's a new one for me. I'm learning about it and hopefully I'll learn more. My new tablets have been good, they've mellowed me out and I think they just take the edge off everything. Fingers crossed they keep working.

Kee admitted he had suicidal thoughts and said that at one point he considered driving his car into a wall. He also praised the atmosphere in his club when it comes to dealing with his problems and asserted that education regarding mental health is the way forward:

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I can come in in the morning and say 'I'm really struggling today. They'll put an arm round you and they'll give you a cuddle. You don't get that in football. It's a lot of fronts but with our team, there are no fronts. They're so honest.

It is all about education and learning about it. Everybody needs to understand a little bit. It could help someone thinking 'I do that regularly. Oh, have I got that?' They could just have a little look into it, they might have nothing but if it helps them in some way, brilliant.

Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman hailed his strikers' reaction to his struggles saying that his admission will help others tackle their own demons:

It's a dark word, depression. People are afraid of the stigma. Until you've been depressed, you can't tell people who haven't been depressed what it's like. You can try and describe it but, it doesn't make any sense really in your own head.

One of the first ways to rectify anything is to admit that it's there in the first place and so he should take a lot of credit for the way he's done that. I think it will help other people in the long run.

Kee has featured underage for Northern Ireland making 18 appearances across U18 and U21 age brackets.

See Also:Who Is Competing For Ireland At The Winter Olympics?

Eoin Lyons

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