‘I have been wearing a mask’ - former Norwich City star reveals fresh battle with depression
PUBLISHED: 13:43 14 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:09 15 January 2019
For two years Cédric Anselin has been an ambassador for mental health after publicly revealing a suicide attempt and a 14 year battle with depression.
Today the former Norwich City midfielder is facing a second battle against his illness after being struck by a heavy relapse.
At the back end of 2016 Cédric contemplated taking his own life - a tragic ending only averted with a phone call to former footballer Clarke Carlisle.
Since then he has “worked so hard” to live with his illness, and said he had got to a point where he was “comfortable with it”.
But in June Cédric, from Spixworth, was forced to sell the family home where he had got married and seen his two children born.
It was also the house where he had considered taking his life and it became a “sanctuary” for his depression.
The conflicting emotions bore down hard on the 41-year-old, and triggered a second descent into dark thoughts.
For the last six months he has been struggling but getting up every day to manage Norwich United, coach football and give talks on mental health.
He said the pressure to speak positively about mental health while his demons had returned made him feel “false”.
“I have been putting a brave face on,” he said. “I have been wearing a mask to make sure people do not feel I am struggling.
“I felt like it is probably time for me to put my hand up and say I am not well.
“People will say to you: ‘You are better, you have got to the other side’,
“There is no other side to depression. You live every single day with it.”
Once all his belongings were in storage and the family home was empty, Cédric, who does not drink, said he bought a can of Guinness from the shop and sat in the garden having flashbacks.
“It was the key thing that I was preparing myself for - having to sell that house,” he said. “I didn’t expect it was going to hit me as hard as it did.
“That was not just my house, it was my sanctuary. It was where I could go and be depressed and I didn’t have to pretend. I didn’t have to leave the house and be happy.
“It was my comfort zone where I didn’t need to pretend.”
It took four months to realise what was happening to him, but Cédric says he is now taking steps to get better again.
He has made contact with mental health professionals and in the next two weeks will be meeting a team to put in place some structured counselling.
But he said he now felt “scared, like I am back at the beginning”.
“I have been pretending for the last four months to be happy, and putting on that mask of protection,” he added.
“I was playing an act, it was like being an actor. When you watch a movie you just see the act, you do not know who that actor actually is himself.
“I feel like if I do not do something about it now, I could end up back to a very bad place.
“I can’t have those thoughts that I don’t want to be in this world any more.
“I have two beautiful boys and after the last two years they see me as a different dad and a completely different person.”
After he left Norwich City in 2001 Cédric went to Bolivian outfit Oriente Petrolero where after six months he contracted malaria. He flew back to Britain and moved to Lowestoft with his wife Lynsey.
After having £250,000 of his savings stolen, he ended up living on a caravan park in the Suffolk seaside town.
It was around this time he attempted to take his own life, but was pulled back from the brink by his wife.
“I have realised it now before it gets too far and too late,” Cédric added. “I have realised I need support and help.
“There is no shame to have a relapse.”
Cédric Anselin was born on July 24, 1977 in Lens, Pas-de-Calais, France.
A midfielder, he was rated highly and played for France under-21s.
In his early career he played for Bordeaux and Lille.
While at Bordeaux he came on as a substitute in both legs of the Uefa Cup final, which ended with Bayern Munich the 5-1 aggregate winners. Bordeaux’s squad included French greats Bixente Lizarazu and Zinedine Zidane.
Anselin joined Norwich City on loan at the end of the 1998-99 season, playing seven times and scoring a goal in a 4-2 win over Oxford United.
He became a crowd favourite and did enough to convince Bruce Rioch to sign him for £250,000.
He went on to make 19 appearances for the Canaries, but could not secure a regular place in the team. Anselin was released in the summer of 2001 and headed north to play for Ross County in Scotland.
The next step was to South America, where he played for the Bolivia club Oriente Petrolero.
He returned to England, briefly playing with Cambridge United before moving into non-league football.
A brief spell at King’s Lynn was followed by a move further down the league pyramid to Dereham Town late in 2007.
In the last few years he has been on the coaching staff at teams including Wroxham, Cromer and Sheringham, before becoming manager of Norwich United last year.
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