herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Soccer star tells of his suicide hell

Former footballer Clarke Carlisle has told how he made the decision that he "had to die" after being charged with a drink-driving offence, and later jumped into the path of an oncoming lorry.

The 35-year-old, who was once the Professional Footballers' Association chairman, was seriously injured on the A64, near York, last December.

In an interview with the Sun he has now spoken of how he felt taking his own life would be "the perfect answer" to a series of problems he was facing.

The news that he was to lose his job as a pundit on ITV, three years after he was released from Burnley football club, caused Carlisle to go on a gambling spree and hours later he was charged with a drink-driving offence of failing to provide a sample.

Two days later the former Premier League player was in hospital with serious injuries after a collision with the lorry. He was released on Friday, six weeks after the incident and said that was the moment he realised he was "incredibly unwell"

"I ventured out of my room not as Clarke the ex-footballer, but as Clarke, a mental health patient. That was the first step in my road to recovery."

Since the collision, a host of footballers, former clubs, organisations and charities have used social media to send messages of support to Carlisle and his family.

Writing on Twitter Carlisle's wife Gemma appealed to those suffering from depression to seek help, and said her thoughts are with the driver of the lorry that hit her husband.

She wrote: "Please if anyone is suffering ... know that it WILL get better. I can promise you that. Reach out to someone, anyone. You're not alone.

SORRY

"We send our love & thoughts to the lorry driver & family. It could have been anyone and Clarke is desperately sorry that it was him

"Suicide & depression is not selfish. It's a serious illness where your world & reality are warped."

The mother-of-two said the couple had decided to do the interview to tell the truth about what they had been through.

She tweeted: "We also want to highlight and create understanding for a lot of issues and feel it would be hypocritical of us to saying nothing."

The former footy ace told how he planned his death meticulously.

He ruled out drowning as "too messy" and even went to a train station in his home town of York where he lay down on the tracks but the train "was too slow".

Carlisle, who is now undergoing counselling, was due to in court, in north London last month to face the drink-driving charge, but the hearing was adjourned to a later date.

hnews@herald.ie

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