The former Arsenal player Paul Merson was very close to taking his own life a year ago, when he struggled with serious alcohol problems.
he writes in a column for the Daily Star in andledningen of English football in the weekend puts focus on mental health problems.
on Monday I have been sober for a year. But at this time last year I would beat myself to death, he writes, explaining how he planned to end his life.
- I could do no more. I could not see a way out. I had the pills in my hand. I took not enough to be able to do anything, but I had them there. With the vodka. It was frightening, he writes.
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Paul Merson (tv) in a duel with Liverpool's Phil Babb in a match for Middlesbrough. Photo: IAN HODGSON/Ritzau Scanpix
the Story may seem familiar.
in 2007 told Paul Merson also, how he had written the farewell letter to his wife prior to a planned suicide. Even then, he struggled with alcohol - like gambling also was to push him towards the edge.
Then he repented, and he did, fortunately, also a year ago.
- It was only because of my children and my wife. And a little bit of awareness that I did not do it. Perhaps also fear. I was afraid to do it. When you are the place you can't see a way out. But I have the tools now. If I get into a really bad situation, so I know that it goes over.
He writes further, that he finally realized that he has a mental disorder, and that he hopes that others with the same problems can be helped by the fact that he tells his story.
the 51-year-old Paul Merson played more than 300 matches for Arsenal in the 80's and 90's, but reached also to represent Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Walsall. On the English national team, it was to 21 matches. Nowadays, he is an expert on Sky Sports.
The English FA Cup matches this weekend will be whistled in time with a single minute's delay, in order to draw attention to the challenge of mental health problems.
Paul Merson in the duel with Kim Vilfort in a test match. Photo: Kim Agersten
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