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MYH UpdateNovember 2009

Ex-Celtic hero Neil Lennon has told how bouts of depression left him an "emotionless" wreck.

The former midfielder, who is now a Hoops coach, talked about his ten year battle with the illness in a BBC documentary.

In Mind Games - Depression In Sport, boxer Frank Bruno, All Black John Kirwan and cricketer Marcus Trescothick join Neil Lennon, to open their hearts to Gaby Logan about their experiences.

They have been compelled to speak out just weeks after the death of German soccer hero Robert Enke, who been secretly battling with depression and ended up taking his own life.

Lennon first revealed his plight three years ago in his autobiography Man and Bhoy.

And in Mind Games he revealed he was left emotionally crippled.

He said: " I was vacant in terms of my feelings. I was never euphoric, never angry. I couldn't cry.

I was waking up on the hour, every hour, and the bed would be soaking with sweat and I'd just be thinking to myself, 'What's wrong?'"

He also believes the illness runs in families and fears he will never fully escape it.

He added: "I have three sisters and my mother and aunts and uncles who have suffered from it.Until you experience it you can't really explain to others how difficult it is."

"Being depressed is one thing, having depression is another. Depression is an illness."

"When Stan Collymore said he had it the reaction with a lot if players and even myself was, 'What's he got to be depressed about?"

"But its more than that. It's a common illness, common among young men, regardless of what the do in life."

"If you tell people you have depression they just say 'Get a grip', and that's the worst thing they can say.

"You feel as if you are the only person who has this and the more you talk to people the more you realise you're not.

"I have been in a room full of people and felt like the loneliest guy in the world.

"The only thing I wanted to do was lie in bed and shut myself away."

Depression is common among top sportsmen and women.

Other sufferers include Olympic star Dame Kelly Holmes, who in 2005 admitted cutting herself with scissors, and snooker ace Ronnie Sullivan.

Tennis ace Serena Williams also suffered after the death of her sister Yetunde.

And last Sunday Austrian football was rocked by the suicide of Parndorf's Brazillian striker Marcelo Da Silva Moco.

Thirty young men take their own lives every week in the UK, and Lennon believes talking about depression is vital.

He said: "If you can get through it you can take on anything after that."

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