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Andrew Flintoff talks about mental illness, says it is not ‘a stigma’

Flintoff had once revealed that too much of alcohol consumption had led to his battle with depression, and ever since he reduced his alcohol intake, it got better.

Andrew Flintoff
Andrew Flintoff. (© Getty Images)

Former England allrounder Andrew Flintoff’s struggle with depression is no news to fans. He has always been open to discussions on mental illness and has been vocal about his own issues. He badly struggled with depression during the 2006-2007 Ashes series.

Having represented the national team in 79 Tests, seven Twenty20 internationals and 141 one-day internationals between 1998 and 2009 Freddie is among the greatest allrounders to have played for the Three Lions. This time around, Flintoff has come out with an opinion on looking at mental issues as a stigma. According to him, the word stigma is wrongly used for discussing mental health problems.

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“I know it [stigma] is a buzz-word at the minute and people say about ‘breaking down the stigma’,” said ex-Lancashire player speaking on BBC Radio live. “I hear it all the time and for me it’s a word that shouldn’t be used.”

Flintoff had once revealed that too much of alcohol consumption had led to his battle with depression, and ever since he reduced his alcohol intake, it got better.

When England won the Ashes in 2005 and 2009, Flintoff was one of the most instrumental players in the win. That made him BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2005. He further revealed on air that he still takes medication, anti-depressants, to fight the issue.

“I’m on medication. If I was playing cricket and I had a bad leg, I’d take an anti-inflammatory. If I had a headache, I’d have an aspirin or a paracetamol.”

He also disclosed that he has never had suicidal thoughts except for on days he felt the lowest, otherwise suicidal thoughts are common for a person suffering from depression.

“I didn’t (think about suicide),” he said. “You toy with… you don’t ‘toy’ with it but at the lowest point, I was happiest when I was in bed, and when I was asleep, and then you think ‘why don’t I just be asleep all the time?’

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