Former Premier League player Clarke Carlisle has spoken about how depression drove him to such despair he attempted suicide. In December, the sportsman jumped in front of a lorry in a bid to end his life. Miraculously the 36-year-old escaped with cuts, bruising and a broken rib. His wife Gemma told fans that his survival was "best Christmas gift we as a family could ask for".
Clarke Carlisle was drinking and visiting casinos to cover up his depression
Now, he has opened up about his battle with depression, urging other sufferers to seek help. Speaking to the Sun, he also praised his wife, saying: "Any woman in their right mind would have left me on dozens of occasions, but she has been so strong and loyal."
Clarke detailed how he went missing for two days before his suicide bid. His contract with Burnley club had finished in 2011 and then last December he was told that his 100,000 TV pundit job was also over.
He had previously been chairman of the Professional Footballers Association.
Gemma Carlisle tweeted this happy family picture of the couple and their kids in 2013
The feeling that his 16-year career was crumbling was compounded by the death in 2013 of his friend and mentor footballer Peter Kay, who founded a charity for sportsmen with addictions.
In the hours before his disappearance the father-of-two was charged with drink driving. Clarke now realises drinking and heading to casinos were coping mechanisms to deal with the depression from which he had been suffering for 18 months previously.
Clarke Carlisle with their children Marley and Honey
Following his suicide attempt, he was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmiary and from there he was sent to a psychiatric unit in Harrogate. The interview took place after his discharge from there last Friday.
With the help of Gemma, whom he married seven years ago, Clarke has fought his way back to health. His wife explained the couple's decision to speak out by saying fans "deserved the truth as you all supported us so immensely". She added: "We also want to create understanding for a lot of issues and felt it would be hypocritical to say nothing."
In his hey day Clarke Carlisle played with Burnley, Leeds United and York City
The response to his admission has been very supportive with fans, calling him a "clarets legend" in reference to Burnley's colours. The 6ft 3in sports hero has said he feels positive about the future. "My road to recovery will be eternal," he says. "Today I am excited and I'm confident because I've finally been truly diagnosed."