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December 2, 2013

Why Trott is more important than cricket

Nakul Pande

Jonathan Trott departs under ominous skies, England v Australia, 2nd NatWest ODI, Old Trafford, September 8, 2013
It's time the 'man up' brigade understood that mental illness is a medical issue and not a personal failing © Associated Press

Australia won, but we knew that was going to happen two days before it happened. Mitchell Johnson, about whom I collected a lot of very interesting stats which I am not going to share with you, bowled fast and mouthed off, but we knew that was going to happen two months ago.

What no one knew was going to happen was that Jonathan Trott would go home with what the England management described as a 'stress-related illness'. While this phrase might seem like another piece of ECB management mumbo-jumbo, as Dr. Brett Morrissey explained on this very website, it is actually to protect Trott's privacy. Mental illness, at least while someone is in the midst of it, is an intensely private and personal thing, and until he has made a full recovery and is ready to talk about it as Marcus Trescothick has to such good effect the public do not need to know what precisely has gone wrong in his head.

I have suffered from depression. There are days when I still suffer from it. It took me a year or more to reconcile myself to the idea that I was ill and seek help, a month or so of cognitive behavioural therapy to be able to function in any meaningful way and all of the 13 months since to pick up the pieces, a process which has still not finished and might never end. Many of my friends still don't know what happened, and most of those have no idea of the specifics. I don't dare think about what might have happened to me if my every up, every down, every therapy session and every empty black rage had been splashed across the back pages, talked about, written about and dissected in minute detail.

I've had run-ins (thankfully not very many) with a few of the 'man up' brigade - those troglodytes who still see mental illness as a personal failing or lack of effort rather than a medical issue necessitating treatment. I don't dare think about what might have happened to me if that ignorance had been multiplied by the 'take one for the team' ethos of professional sport, laudable and thrilling to watch as that normally is, and the burden of wrongly thinking I'd let my team-mates down.

I know you may never read this, Jonathan, and I know you'll be told many times by people you love and trust. But I'm going to say it anyway: you don't owe anything to anyone. Your only obligation is to yourself, to fix your mind and get on with your life in whatever way you see fit. Those of us who love cricket will hope that's with the England team, but if not, so be it. Just get well very, very soon.

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Nakul tweets @cricketpanda and blogs here

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Comments have now been closed for this article

Posted by Dummy4 on (December 8, 2013, 23:35 GMT)

@Tattus If you have a wheel, you are only smart to make use of it. If you don't have a wheel, you HAVE to walk. Now, if you have a wheel but still prefer to walk, where walking will make the path that much harder to take, you are only being a fool. You might have to read these sentences a few times, and slowly, to make sense to you.

Excellent article. Get well soon Trott!

Posted by Vinod on (December 4, 2013, 8:07 GMT)

Fantastically written! Wishing Jonathan Trott the very best.

Posted by Dummy4 on (December 3, 2013, 15:57 GMT)

The lack of awareness regarding such an 'experience' (whether personal or among near ones) is what compels people to act like (strictly quoting) 'troglodytes'.

However, the process of recovery must begin, and let's hope the 'critics' upholding a twisted 'masculine' stance decide to shut up, simply because Trott is much more important than cricket!

Wonderful read.

Posted by ramachandra on (December 3, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

I am proud to be a 'troglodyte' or whatever mate! I admire millions of middle class citizens, especially in the poorer parts of the world, who 'fight' against this 'Illness that occurs when you fail'. Its not because they are 'troglodytes'. Its because they cant afford to take time off [ a holiday which you call time in private and therapy and all that]. They go on with life and live their life without succumbing to experts.

A physical injury is way way different. You know you are injured and a second person knows when you are injured. A 'mental injury' is that one which you decide when you are injured rather than the injury deciding. Yeah call me a nut or whatever you like but these are the facts and you cant face it. Dont publish this if you wish too.

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