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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 6 May 2021

John Mooney: 'I will do everything to make sure this illness doesn’t take me away from my future'

The Irish cricketer was diagnosed with depression almost three years ago.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

EARLIER THIS YEAR, Irish cricketer John Mooney spoke publicly for the first time about his battle with depression and how an unresolved childhood trauma led to him seeking solace in alcohol.

As an ambassador for Aware, he recently shared a diary entry from November 28th on the organisation’s website and it’s reproduced here with the author’s kind permission.


It’s 6 am and, as most of us who suffer with depression will know, it’s not uncommon to be up roaming around in a place that is very hard to describe to another person who does not suffer with this affliction. I’m actually not feeling too bad – the reason I’m up so early is not because I can’t sleep it’s because I was in bed so early.

I’m currently in Dubai on a training camp with 15 other players and a support staff of five who all know about my situation. But at times on this trip I could be here with a million people and it would still make no difference to the loneliness I have felt. I was diagnosed nearly three years ago now and my ability to cope with my feelings and low moods has grown as every day passes. There are many factors behind this and the biggest one is that I’m determined this will not beat me, it will not stop me from doing what I love.

I am so lucky to be in this space where I know I’m low but I also know it will pass. In two hours or so my teammates will be awake and I can use all their positivity and friendship to help me get through another day. The main reason for me being in bed so early is my corrupted mind. For years, to deal with it, I would shove some kind of substance into my body to help take away the feelings of self-hate and pain that I have suffered since my Dad’s death when I was a boy.

To keep myself away from doing something I will regret I need to be in bed early. I need to switch my mind off as early as I can and get away from my corrupted thinking. In the last few years I have attended many counselling sessions, group sessions, AA meetings and even tried meditation and they have all helped me to get to this point of accepting that life goes on, life is good and that, at times, I’m not going to feel great. I can’t imagine there is anyone who feels great all the time.

We travelled out here on the 19th of this month and from the minute we hit the airport I was feeling crap. I had left my two girls and wife at home again and it just wasn’t sitting right with me. I spent the first few days fighting off the usual feelings of just giving up, ‘throwing the towel in’ as they say. They were followed up with the suicidal thoughts which were then followed up with the ‘drown your sorrows in a heap of alcohol’ thoughts.

But life has a way of putting things in perspective for you and, in the last few days, the cricket world has been turned upside down due to the tragic death of one of the games top batsmen in Australia, Phil Hughes. Hit on the head with a cricket ball at 80+ mph. My Dad also died playing cricket and the feelings that this has brought back to me are so raw and mixed I don’t know what to think. For twenty odd years I’ve tried to tell myself “Ah, Dad died doing something he loved”. That might be true but it’s not fair and what has happened to Phil is just not fair.

John Mooney acknowledges the crowd Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

My mood at some stage today will be low and tomorrow I will go through the same thing. But I will hopefully still be here with a great family, with friends, with a job, with a future, a future which has been taken so tragically away from Phil. I will do everything I can to make sure this illness doesn’t take me away from my future.

Anyone who reads this and who also suffers with this curse of an illness, please don’t act on your plans. Please remember that life is precious and you are precious to someone. Find that someone and let them help you.

My thoughts are with Phil Hughes at the moment, with his family, friends and teammates. I know the loss they are suffering is devastating. I’m hoping that in Heaven all the cricketers who have gone before us have welcomed him in and are enjoying his company, and that maybe he can teach my Dad the cut shot.

Today I will not be acting on any of my thoughts, I will try and enjoy it as much as I can, I will not take one minute for granted and I will try and get as much out of it as I can. I’m going to be positive, I will work hard and I will tell my family that I love them and I will put into practice everything I have learned over the last few years to help me do this.

Go raibh maith agat agus slán go foill,



If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, please contact one of the following helplines:

  • Aware 1890 303 302
  • Samaritans 116123 or email
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634
  • Console 1800 201 890
  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66

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TheScore Team

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