‘I couldn’t eat and I’d be crying on couch’ – Tim Paine reveals his struggle with mental illness
After earning his place back in the Test side in 2017-18 Ashes, Paine again had to face the mental disturbance.
Updated - Jul 12, 2020 12:05 pm
After being identified as Australia’s first-choice wicketkeeper and making his international debut, Tim Paine suffered a career-threatening finger injury in 2010. It was a hard time for Paine, who had to go through seven surgeries to regain confidence and eventually pave his way back into the side.
The Australian skipper had to go through the frustration and sleepless nights before recovering and rediscovering himself. Paine, on Sunday, revealed that he used to hate playing cricket and was ‘left crying on the couch’ during the tough injury-plagued phase of his career.
“I got to the stage where I was scared of getting hit, and I just had no idea what I was going to do,” he told a new podcast series aimed at promoting well-being and good mental health,” said Paine as quoted by Cricket Next.
“Instead of watching the ball, I was thinking about getting hit or what might happen. When you’re doing that the game becomes very difficult. I couldn’t score runs for an extended period of time. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I was so nervous before games. I was horrible to live with,” he added.
Paine had received much praise after taking over the Test captaincy in 2018 after Steve Smith was banned for his involvement in the infamous ball-tampering scandal. Reflecting on his tough mental period, he said that he never lost his love for the game but “when it came to my part in the game I just hated it”.
I thought I was letting many people down: Tim Paine
Paine said he eventually turned the corner after confiding in a sports psychologist at Cricket Tasmania. Mental health has been a prominent issue in Australian cricket in recent times, with many names like Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson and Will Pucovski opening about their struggles.
“I remember times when I would be sitting at home, she’d be at work, and I would literally be sitting on the couch, not bawling my eyes out but I’d be crying. It was weird and really painful, it was hard to explain, but yeah I just thought I was letting so many people down,” revealed Paine.
“It was the first time I actually told anyone (sports psychologist) what was going on, but I remember walking out of that room and instantly feeling better, that I had let someone in and that was the first step to dealing with, admitting I needed help,” he added.
After earning his place back in the Test side in 2017-18 Ashes, Paine again had to face the mental disturbance. “It went from an amazing feeling … and then I thought that’s not good. I’m going to have to bat in front of people and there are going to be millions of people watching.
And for three or four days after I thought I don’t want to do this. Again, spoke to some people and got that stuff off my chest and I thought bugger it, I’ll just make the most of it … I’m going to enjoy it,” remembered Paine.