England and Manchester United man Jesse Lingard has opened up on the extent of his mental health struggles in a revealing interview with new entertainment show Presenting.
Lingard has enjoyed an incredible second half of the season, bagging nine goals and three assists in 10 Premier League appearances for West Ham since joining the club in January.
“When you’re young, seeing your mum going through something like that, you don’t understand it logically, you don’t know what she’s going through.
“She’d say ‘I’m depressed, I’m depressed’ but me, as a kid, you don’t know what that means.
“You’re just going out, playing out, playing football, doing your thing, but mum was in bed most of the time, curtains closed, she’s going through it. This is when I was young, like 12.”
“I feel like I wasn’t Jesse Lingard”
“It feels like you’re not the same person, I feel like I wasn’t Jesse Lingard. Even in football matches, I felt like the game was just passing me by, like I just didn’t want to be there – it was crazy.
“I could see myself playing but watching the game back I just think that’s not me, that’s not how I play. You go from the World Cup to some performances I’ve seen myself playing and something needed to change.
“I opened up to United and told them what I was going through, what my mum was going through and they’re always there to help. I’ve had doctors that have helped which has been brilliant and during the lockdown I got my head together”.
Lockdown and “the real Jesse Lingard”
“Lockdown has kind of transitioned me in a way. I watch my old games back and watch the World Cup games back and the old games I used to play and I think, ‘yeah that’s the real Jesse Lingard’. The time that I had going a couple seasons back or last season, it just wasn’t me at all and you can see that.
“My brother who lives with me, he could see that and he’s got a video of me literally laying on the couch and I’m just staring for 3 minutes into thin air and he’s just thinking, ‘What is he going through? He’s got the weight of the world on his shoulders’
“When I finally opened up and everyone understood it was like, ‘Oh that’s why’, so now it’s just me getting my head back together, football and helping my mum and I don’t really have time for anything else"
“I was going into games happy sitting on the bench and that’s not me. My mind wasn’t there, I wasn’t focused at all. I was thinking about other things and obviously bottling it all up trying to play football, you’re tense, you’re stressed and you can’t do it.”
“There’s some days where I used to have a game at 8 o’clock and we’d go to the hotel in the afternoon, I’d sleep form 2-4, shut my curtains in the dark and then wake up in the dark and you don’t get any sunlight. So I was advised by the doctors, as soon as you get up in the morning, jump out of bed, open the curtains and even the little things can really change your attitude.
“I feel like in life you go through difficulties, you go through stages of lows and highs, but I feel like you’ve gotta get through the lows, grind it out and you see the light at the end of the tunnel
“That’s why I did open up, I want to change people’s lives and inspire others to start opening up, because I’ve been through it and I know what it’s like to bottle things up, so if I can pass on the information to anyone who’s going through mental health issues, it’ll make me smile.”