How Robin Uthappa Braved Clinical Depression

Robin Uthappa talks about his journey with clinical depression and how speaking to his counsellor helped him.

Published
Sports Specials
4 min read

“I don’t think it matters where you’re from or what you are or honestly, how much money you’re earning, because when I was going through that, I was the second-highest paid player in IPL,” says Robin Uthappa while opening up about his tryst with clinical depression from 2009 to 2011, just years after winning the T20 World Cup with India and during a span when he was one of the most in-demand players in the IPL.

“You think that depression comes because of lack of money or not being able to achieve your goals but no, anything can trigger it and it can happen to absolutely anybody,” he adds while opening up about his own journey.

‘Realised in 2009 Something Was Wrong’

Having made his international debut in 2006, Robin Uthappa had made a name for himself in Indian cricket over the next few years. But as the 34-year-old explains, 2009 was the year when he started feeling something was not right.

“In 2008, I played (IPL) for Mumbai Indians and I was just transferred to the RCB. I was very conflicted because the trade happened very close to the tournament. I think 3-4 weeks before. Suddenly, you’re preparing the whole year to play for one team and you’re thrown into a trade situation when you have to go to another team. Even though I was coming home (Bengaluru), I was very conflicted. And I think that was the hay that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, for me,” he explains.

“I realised something was not right. I was constantly depressed, I was not okay. I would catch myself sitting on the window sill of my room on the 21st floor, with my legs dangling out and just thinking – what should I do with my life? Those are the kind of things you experience. You feel completely hopeless,” says Robin as he talks about the first time he started getting thoughts of ending his life.

Seeking Help, And Staying The Course

“A family friend and my mum suggested I go to a counsellor. I didn’t even know what I was going to speak to the counsellor about but the way I was able to open up to her, I was able to figure out and understand why I had reached that place in my life. When you are feeling so lost and hopeless in life, when someone helps you empower yourself, you feel life again in you. This is a very beautiful feeling and you feel like you have the strength to figure this out,” explains Robin as he talks about the transformative effect his counsellor has had on his mindset and his life.

But, staying the course and completing your journey with the counsellor is most important – a lesson, Robin says, he learned the hard way.

“You have to finish the course. But if you don’t, then you’re doing a disservice to yourself. I learned that very experientially. I took my foot off the pedal and didn’t go to the counsellor because I thought I was fine but then it kicked in again. It kicked in again in 2011 and I spent that whole year really just constantly thinking about ending my life,” he says.

You feel like the best thing to do under these circumstances is to finish it all. End it all. And that’s where I think we’re very wrong.

‘It’s Okay to Not Feel Okay’

“I remember my balcony being open and sitting on the edge of my bed and saying, ‘At 3, I’m just going to walk and jump off’. Something held me back. I thought I had two options in life – to either end it all or get out from where I am, uproot myself, go to some corner of the world and restart. Honestly I thought I’ll restart at a McDonalds in some corner of the world. And then I reached out to my counsellor again and after I spoke to my counsellor again, I slowly started getting myself out of my way and it was with her that I realised I was going through clinical depression for the last 1-2 years. Once I went back to the counsellor, I made sure I stayed the course,” adds Robin as he talks about going from his life’s lowest moment to returning to being the cheerful, robust cricketer that fans see on their televisions.

It has been a long journey, a tough journey, but one that required help. “It’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to not feel okay,” Robin had said during this interview and those are words you need to hold close. Because if an international cricketer living his dream and playing in the big leagues can be struggling as hard as he was with his emotions, it can happen to you, it can happen to me and the reason Robin said he opened up about his struggle is that we all know, “it is okay to not be okay”. It is also important to seek help and follow the process.

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