Ireland all-rounder: I've had suicidal thoughts

Ireland all-rounder John Mooney has revealed details about his fight with depression, saying he had suicidal thoughts before seeking professional help, and that dealing with the disease was a constant battle for him.

Ireland all-rounder John Mooney has revealed details about his fight with depression, saying he had suicidal thoughts before seeking professional help, and that battling the disease was a constant battle for him.

Mooney was forced to withdraw from the series against the West Indies earlier this year due to this mental illness, which had plagued him for a number of years, and only recently returned for Ireland, in the ODIs against Scotland.

He told RTE Sport about his situation: "For the last number of years, I had started to withdraw from everyday life. The drinking excessively as well is never good and you're masking your feelings.

"A lot of men don't talk about their feelings and I am certainly one of those people. I've spent 20 years bottling up all my feelings. It was a really tough process to get to where I got to today.

"It wasn't an overnight thing, it was a gradual build-up and when I was in the Caribbean, things had slipped personally for me and there was just no way I could go on with that tour."

He explained what happened on the tour that made the decision for him: "I'd been in bed for a couple of days. We had played a game on a Friday night. I had a couple of too many drinks.

"We had a training session the next day and I just couldn't do the training session. I wasn't in the frame of mind to get up out of bed. It was a really, really bad place. I've had days and weeks like that in the past just luckily enough I wasn't on tour. Straightaway I knew.

"Simmo was around in my room and Niall O'Brien, who I've played with since the Under-13 level and my closest friend in the team, and they were both in the room with me and they were talking to me and I had the sheets pulled up over my head, I couldn't even look at them. It was a unanimous decision from everybody that I needed to come home."

He also spoke about having suicidal thoughts, and said that anyone on that path should speak to someone immediately to get help: "I've had to tell my wife about it. She was devastated. That was the first time I had to go into St Pat's [St Patrick's Mental Hospital]. Just a simple little thing.

"It would have been an easy decision to have gone through with the plan that I had, but to just say it to her, to go through the services that I have gone through and the help that I have gone through was without doubt the best decision I have ever made.

"The thoughts come like you're having a craving for anything, they just pop into your head. It's a really weird feeling and it is very difficult to explain. I hope nobody ever has to experience them."

He also revealed some background details about his life, and thanks Cricket Ireland for their support over the years: "About two years ago, I had to go and do some counselling.

"My father dropped dead in front of me as a 11-year-old and I never really dealt with those issues coming into my teenage years, I got into a bit of trouble. I made a promise to him that I was going to play cricket for Ireland and that was the real driving force for me to even stay in the game.

"A couple of years ago, I found myself falling out of love with the game, not finding much love in anything really and I decided to go to counselling. And that started to stir up an awful lot of emotional feelings and stuff like that.

"Cricket Ireland have been superb. I told them straightaway about it and they still managed to keep me going until it just came to a head last year in the Caribbean."