Martyn Waghorn speaks to the Telegraph on depression and hopes to inspire other sufferers
Now we all know the stigma that surrounds men and depression.
Men have traditionally been raised to remain detached from emotional pain, suffering, and other perceived vulnerabilities and weaknesses because those are still thought to be feminine traits. Boys are taught to suppress their emotions because expressing them will be viewed by others as unmanly, abnormal or in some way damaging to male egos.
Despite the widespread acceptance of mental illness, men who acknowledge having depression have in the past been stigmatised, criticised, ridiculed, and ostracised, especially men who play sports. Phrases such as “man up,” “toughen up,” and “be strong” are statements (or advice) constantly used by friendsn and employers, as if it were that easy to turn on “happiness.” No one chooses to feel sad, lonely, or empty. There is no logic in thinking that people choose to be depressed.
So for Martyn to publicly speak about this incredibly difficult time in his life makes us immensely proud of the person he has become.
You can read an excerpt of Sam Wallace’s interview with Martyn below or read the full interview here.
Martyn Waghorn is the latest professional footballer who wants to say that he has suffered from depression and that he would like others, in the game and beyond, to talk openly about it. Speaking publically has been a big decision, taken with his wife Leoni, and the emotion in his voice is clear as he discusses its effect on him and his family.
It struck during his second season at Rangers, 2016-2017, while he and Leoni were living in Glasgow with their young son Ruben and was the key reason for Waghorn’s subsequent switch to Ipswich Town two years ago. His rejuvenated form there brought him to Derby last summer. Back in 2016, after his 20 goals in the second tier had helped Rangers win promotion to the Scottish Premiership, he began that second season well. Then injury and loss of form struck and he went without a goal in the league from the opening day on Aug 6, to Dec 16.
Eventually Leoni persuaded him to see the club doctor who immediately diagnosed depression. Waghorn loved playing for Rangers – the big crowds, the rich history – and he wants to make that clear. He just found the pressure that went with it hard to bear, living in a city where fans are divided so militantly. He found the injuries difficult to deal with, so too being played out of position, and then a fall-out with manager Mark Warburton all contributed to a downward spiral.