Former Norwich City star Darren Eadie opens up about mental health struggle

Norwich City legend Darren Eadie

Darren Eadie has discussed his struggles with mental health on the Official EFL Podcast. - Credit: Archant

A former Norwich City footballer has opened up about his struggles with mental health in a podcast interview.

On this week's episode of the Official EFL Podcast, Darren Eadie, 46, told host Mark Clemmit and former goalkeeper Chris Kirkland about the breakdown of his marriage as a result of the illness.

Mr Eadie said: "I probably suffered on and off for 10 years without getting the help I should have done.

"On the surface, I thought everything in my family life was great but there was clearly an underlying element about how I was treating people around me that made things difficult.

"It doesn't just affect you. It impacts the partners so much and my wife had to pick up the pieces every time I was broken.

"In the end it became too much and she left the marriage."

Mr Eadie admits that he is still heartbroken about the loss of his relationship and being away from his children is particularly challenging.

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"I don't blame her for the marriage breaking down — these things happen," he said. "I was devastated and still am today because I still love her dearly.

"It was difficult to start again because I've not only lost my football career, I lost the support network of my wife's family around me because I don't have the same relationship I used to have with them.

"I've had to start again."

Mr Eadie played for Norwich between 1993 and 1999 and was a fan favourite before his move to Leicester City.

Unfortunately, he was forced to retire early at the age of 28 due to persistent knee injuries.

"At the age of 46, I've had to find a new route in life," he said.

"I question where I am going to be in 10 years time. In football, I had structure. When you sign a long-term deal at a club, you know where you have that security. I don't have that anymore.

"Losing your wife and children that you see every single day is soul destroying but I now have the coping mechanisms in place to help deal with it.

"However, if this happened 10 or 15 years ago, I probably wouldn't be here."

Canaries legend Darren Eadie in action at Carrow Road in 2018 during a fund-raising game against Int

Darren Eadie in action during the 2018 charity match against Inter Milan. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Mr Eadie believes that he now understands the illness better and says he is better equipped to manage his mental health.

"If you feed your body with poor food and drink, your body reacts to it and you get unfit and overweight. You don't feel great," added Mr Eadie.

"Your mind is exactly the same. If you start feeding your mind with poor thoughts and habits then it is a downwards spiral and it treats you the same way.

"Now, I know when I am getting these thoughts and start to feel that negativity. I don't try and block it out and I don't analyse it like I used to.

"I manage how I am feeling on a day to day basis and live in the moment."

You can listen to full version of the Official EFL Podcast here.

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