Wales rugby star reveals he considered taking his own life as depression took over
Former Wales wing Tom James has revealed how his 10-year battle with mental health issues drove him to consider taking his own life.
James announced in January last year that he was suffering from depression and took a break from the game to receive treatment.
The 32-year-old, who is the Cardiff Blues’ record try scorer, was battling with demons for the best part of a decade.
Things got so bad for 12-cap Wales star that he would make up excuses about why he couldn’t go to training, be it sickness or injury.
He also turned to alcohol, drinking large amounts on his own at home, and even bought medication on the black market in an attempt to sleep.
“I stopped eating. There would be days when all I would have was a bowl of porridge,” he told Wales Online. “And I couldn’t sleep because my mind was overactive and just buzzing.
“The fatigue in my body was just a different level and then I was going training and trying to keep up with all the fit boys or go out on the field and chase one of the fastest players in the league.
“My concentration level went out of the window and I was struggling to remember moves. When there was a bit of banter with the boys, I would be really sensitive and take it to heart.
“I was young and, for years, I didn’t have a clue what was happening. I was thinking ‘Is it normal to feel like this?’ I just didn’t know what it was. Then, as the years went on, it just got worse
“I did a few stupid things as a cry for help and it was at that point I thought there was something really up here, I’ve got a problem. I started searching on the internet and realised it was depression.
“It’s like a black cloud over you. You don’t want to get out of bed, you’re not eating, you’re not sleeping, you’ve got anxiety, you’re not answering the phone to your best friends, you are being snappy.
“It got to a stage, in about 2012, where I didn’t want to play rugby anymore.”
James is brutally honest about how bad things got for him, revealing he considered suicide as things began to get on top of him.
“I had suicidal thoughts for about five years,” he added. “When I came back from the New Zealand tour in 2016, I was never the same boy again. That was the worst. I just went downhill from there.
“I had so much anxiety and I wasn’t sleeping or eating. I just had no appetite at all. I must have lost about two and a half stone.
“I just felt like I didn’t want to do anything and didn’t want to get out of bed. Everyone has bad days, but every day was a bad day for me back then.”
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