Harmison reveals fight with depression

- Agence France-Presse, LONDON

Jun 18, 2017-

Former leading England pace bowler Steve Harmison has revealed his battle with depression got so bad at the peak of his career he contemplated suicide.

The 38-year-old—who played 63 Tests in which he took 226 wickets—says in his autobiography ‘Speed Demons’, which is being serialised in the ‘Daily Mirror’, he had gone in 2004 to see a psychologist about his ‘demons’. This was at a time when he was considered the world’s best bowler—Australian spin legend Shane Warne has listed him as being one of the top 50 cricketers of all time.

Harmison—who is one of a series of England cricketing greats such as opener Marcus Trescothick and allrounder Andrew Flintoff to have spoken about suffering from depression—said he suffered from depression on long tours abroad but found it pursued him even in a home series. 

“Fast forward to the great summer of 2004, when I was No 1 in the rankings for the Test bowlers,” says Harmison. “It was the same story—only worse. I was in no position to celebrate. I was in no state to do anything. England won all seven Tests but as that summer went on I could feel the brightness growing darker. The horrible truth was those same feelings, which had consumed me on trips abroad, were overpowering me again—and this time it had nothing to do with being away from home. The demons had not bothered to travel. They had come to get me at home.”

“I spoke to the team doctor Peter Gregory and saw a psychologist. I was asked: “Have you ever considered harming yourself?” That frightened the hell out of me. The honest answer was “Maybe”. It was clear I was clinically depressed and medication would be the way forward. I’ve been on it ever since.”

Harmison, who took 17 wickets in the Ashes series win over Australia in England in 2005, is less sympathetic towards Jonathan Trott judging the language the England batsman used to describe his reason for returning early form the 2013-14 tour of Australia as not ringing true. 

Published: 18-06-2017 09:03

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