Clarke Carlisle is Looking forward to the Future after His Darkest Days of Depression
Former soccer player Clark Carlisle has spoken openly since his career ended about his battle with depression. He claims the dark place he was in led him to a drunk driving conviction and a suicide attempt.
Carlisle admitted trying to kill himself just two days after his arrest by walking out in front of a lorry on a road in York. His injuries required hospitalization and he still has scars.
According to Carlisle, it was the lowest place he could’ve been, despite having a happy marriage and three children. He described rationalizing suicide as a viable option in the haze of his illness. Of his scars and the experience, Carlisle says, “It still feels very real. They’re a constant reminder. Sometimes, it disgusts me that something can get a hold of your mind so strongly and grip you so powerfully to take you away from the things that you love. But today, on a daily basis, they remind me of how blessed I am and I’ve been given another opportunity in life.”
Carlisle, who played for QPR, Leeds, Watford, Luton Town, York City, and Northampton Town, said he’d received help for this depression before his arrest and suicide attempt and that the league had offered him support. But he doesn’t believe he helped himself and, in his opinion,, the vast majority of help for depression must be self-help.
Carlisle describes not doing what he needed to do to maintain his mental well-being and that he was secretive and masked his emotions, which caused him to spiral.
He’s not proud of the things he did while in the throes of depression. He was rude to people on social media and knows his chaotic lifestyle caused him to hurt people’s feelings. He also doesn’t expect people to just forgive him, but he wants them to understand and be aware of what mental illness can cause you to do. He also wants people to understand that treating depression is about more than just trying to feel better or get over difficult emotions and that it often requires serious medical intervention. He doesn’t believe enough people realize depression is an illness and you can’t just “pull yourself together.”
Treatment for Depression
Carlisle is right when he says it’s important to realize depression is a disease that needs medical treatment, but his point about self-help is also valid. Research has indicated that there’s a link between emotional intelligence and depression and that learning to manage self-esteem, mindset, and motivation can help deal with depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
Research indicates that mentally healthy people recognize their worth and because they have self-respect, other people treat them better. They don’t dwell on their failures and are always striving for self-improvement. They’re also more likely to look for the good in every situation and choose to believe that they can overcome challenges and that their life can improve.
As more people learn that developing emotional intelligence can improve their mental state and protect against depression and anxiety, they’ll seek comprehensive support for their illness.
Mental health professionals also think it’s important to help those around you who might be suffering from depression. Like Carlisle, the person in the throes of a depressive episode might not be able to recognize that something is wrong. Even if they know they feel “off,” they might not know it’s an illness causing the problem and that they can get help for treating it.
Dr. Gabriel Kaplan, chief medical officer for the Behavioral Health Network at RWJBarnabas Health in West Orange reminds us that depression clouds the sufferer’s judgment and can even be hard to identify when you’re the one living with it. Kaplan says, “It’s important for family and friends to say ‘You’re not yourself.” You can say, ‘We’re really concerned about you. There’s no need to suffer. You can get relief.’”
He says it’s important to take action even if the affected person downplays the issue because, without treatment, it can escalate and have dangerous consequences.
Brighter Days Ahead for Carlisle
Now, more than two years after his suicide attempt, Carlisle and his wife are expecting their fifth child. He says he is in a much better place and wants people who are facing a struggle similar to his own with depression to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Together, Carlisle and his wife Carrie are working to end the stigma associated with mental illness. She wants people to know that what happened in their past wasn’t her husband’s fault and that if more people understood that depression is an illness and that it’s not a moral issue that anyone should feel ashamed of dealing with.