Robin Uthappa, a key member of the 2007 World T20 winning Indian team, has revealed that he battled clinical depression and suicidal thoughts for nearly two years during his career, a phase when cricket was perhaps the only thing that kept him from jumping off a balcony.
The big-hitting top-order batsman, who represented India in 46 ODIs and 13 T20 Internationals, was picked by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 3 crore for this year's IPL, which is currently suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I remember around 2009 to 2011, it was constant and I would deal with that on a daily basis. There were times where I wasn't even thinking about cricket, it was probably the farthest thing in my mind," he said during the Royal Rajasthan Foundation's live session 'Mind, Body and Soul'.
"I was thinking about how I would survive this day and move on to the next, what's happening to my life and in which direction am I heading. Cricket kept my mind off of these thoughts but it became really difficult on non-match days and during the off-season.
"On days, I would just be sitting there and would think to myself on the count of three, I'm going to run and jump off of the balcony but something kind of just held me back," he recalled.
It was at this stage that the 34-year-old began maintaining a diary before reaching out for professional help.
"...(I) started the process of just understanding myself as a person. I then started to seek outside help to make those changes I wanted to make in my life," he said.
"I feel life is about balance and we can't have it one way, a lopsided life is not going to be great, both negative and positive experiences are essential," he said.
The soft-spoken Uthappa said cricket, as a sport, has changed drastically.