"England all-rounder Michael Yardy has flown home from the World Cup because he is suffering from depression.
"Leaving at this stage of the World Cup campaign was a very difficult decision to make," the 30-year-old said.
"But I felt it was the only sensible option for me and I wanted to be honest about the reason behind that decision."
I admire Mike Yardy's bravery in saying why he is returning home, it would have been easy to invent an alternative condition or an injury for the press, to keep his depression a secret, but he has spoken up and been honest about what is a very real and debilitating illness. I have no doubt that there will be folks who ask how he can be depressed, he's fit he's healthy (?), he's hardly poor, the list could go on and on! But depression is no respecter of position, of fitness, of financial security it happens when the mind and emotions become overloaded causing an imbalance of chemicals in the brain! Sufferers need treatment as they would for any other medical condition, and time out to rest! Yardy is not shirking or skiving, he is doing the right thing, and as I've said he has bravely spoken up about depression!
I too suffer from depression from time to time and I find that talking about it really helps, it helps but it breaks the conspiracy of silence, the great taboo that surrounds depression and says we must not talk about it. In some Christian circles it is seen not only as a weakness but as a sign of sin, and we must confess and confess until we are free of the thing that is holding us down and making us depressed. I am amazed at the number of people I have spoken to and ministered to who have been subjected to that type of rubbish and it makes me really angry. It is usually accompanied by some form of deliverance ministry and the depressed person ends up in a worse state than ever! Don't get me wrong I believe there is spiritual evil in the world, and I don't discount the possibility of oppression or even possession, but I think this is very rare, and a case for the experts, AND I do not believe that most depression comes anywhere close to that category, it is a medical condition that needs medical treatment and rest.
I've blogged on this before, and as folk who have read my blog for a while will know I blogged my way through a bout of depression in 2006/7, my first post on this subject recieved a huge numer of comments. I said:
"I'm feeling really vulnerable right now, having woken this morning with the knowledge that the depression I have been battling with over the last few months is simply not going to go away, in fact the more I've tried to push it away, or call it something else, the worse it has become!
So today with my usual impeccable timing (only I could pick a few days before Christmas to acknowledge a problem!) I called the Dr's surgery and made an emergency appointment.... now I know that one particular friend will probably want to throw a bucket of at me ... but will also understand!
Living with constant and serious amounts of stress has caused the chemicals in my brain to become unbalanced, feelings of despair greet every morning, I have until the last week been able to drag myself into the day to function relatively normally at a surface level...
...although I should have begun to twig that something was wrong when I could read and then forget the contents of an entire chapter... when assignments have meandered all over the place ( not a usual trait of academic writing from me even though blogging can be weird!)
....when I had no desire or passion to preach or pray or lead worship.... no enthusiasm for talking to people, or schools work...when spending time with my family has become more of a burden than a pleasure (along with all the accompanying guilt) ...
... and I begin to wonder how I have reached a place where nothing excites or inspires me...
It is funny how it is easier to accept failure that depression, easier to say I'm stupid than I simply can't cope...
... and for me Christmas preparations were the last straw, I love lights, and enjoy decorating, and cooking and choosing presents for friends and family... well I did, but this year it has all been too much, so much so that as December has crept onwards I have felt worse and worse...
....yesterday one request followed another and I enough was enough,there is only so much an already overloaded brain can take...
... on the bright side the only way from here is up, it will take a couple of weeks for the medication to take effect, but just acknowledging depression as an actual condition, and knowing ( although I did know) that I am not responsible for this emotional roller-coaster, helps!
.. why is it hard for Christan's to admit they suffer from depression? Why do we try hard to portray near perfect lives...feeling as if somehow we have let God down, or that we might be asked questions we cannot answer....I once heard a sermon which took the acronym for S.A.D.- Seasonal Affective Disorder saying that with Jesus we cannot be Sad! Nonsense... sheer nonsense!"
One of the responses was:
"Sally I applaud you for making the appointment and for talking about it so honestly here.
Depression IS hard to admit to - especially to oursleves, let alone others. I think clergy buy into the lie that we have to be perfect and that Jesus is enough! We advise others that professional help and medication are needed but resist it ourselves. Stupid! And wrong!"
Thankfully the England Managing Director Hugh Morris does not see Yardy's condition as anything less than it is, the BBC reports him as saying:
" Yardy would be given the full support of everyone connected with the national team.
He added: "Michael has been an integral part of the England set up in recent years and while he will be missed in the knock out stages of the World Cup, our priority now is to ensure that he returns home to his family and is able to spend time recovering with a strong support network around him"
So I want to say to Mike Yardy: Mike I applaud your honesty- and pray for your recovery- thank you for speaking up and not hiding a very real condition. As for the rest og the England Cricket team, come on lads, pull your socks up :-)