Former Nottingham Forest and Liverpool striker Stan Collymore has given a revealing insight into his battle with depression.
The 40-year-old, now a summariser for radio station talkSPORT, received treatment for the condition while playing for Aston Villa in the late 1990s and has taken the step of speaking out about his latest bout in a bid to encourage understanding of the illness.
In a lengthy and emotional Twitter post, Collymore wrote: "Around 10 days ago, I started to feel anxiety, which grew into irrational fear and insomnia for three days (little sleep and an incredibly active, negative mind) that turned over last weekend into hypersomnia, whereby my energy levels dipped to zero and my sleep went from eight to 18 hours overnight."
He added: "So fit and healthy one day, mind, body and soul withering and dying the next. This to me is the most frightening of experiences.
"It's me, bad and increasingly despairing thoughts of how long this one will last, a desperately tired but wildly active mind burns through its own blue touch paper until the paper ends and there is simply nothing left."
Collymore said that is the point where a sufferer is vulnerable to suicidal thoughts, as he himself has been in the past.
However, he continued: "Thankfully I've not got to that part yet, and in my last 10 years only once or twice has this practical reality entered my head - and practicality it is.
"If your mind is empty, your brain ceases to function, your body is pinned to the bed, the future is a dark room with no light and this is your reality. It takes a massive leap of faith to know that this time next week, life could be running again, smiling, my brain as it should be.
"So what do some do? They don't take the leap of faith, they address a practical problem with a practical solution to them, and that is taking their own life. And sadly, too many take that route out of this hell. There are so many going through this that need to know it's just an illness. Not bad, mad, crazy or weak, just ill.
"For family and friends who are there but feel they can't help, you can! Patience, time, kindness and support - that's all we need. Just acknowledge the feedback the sufferer gives, get them to go to the GP and help them do the little things bit by bit."