Former professional footballer Brian Lenihan on his choice to retire at 23 due to mental ill health.
In the latest episode of The Player’s Chair Brian Lenihan speaks to Richie Sadlier about his struggles with depression, suicidal ideation and his experience of Electroconvulsive Therapy.
Cover photo by Fachry Zella Devandra on Unsplash
Aged just 23, Brian was forced to retire from football for his own wellbeing. After releasing a statement that he would retire from football the public assumed it was due to a knee injury when in fact it was due to what he describes as an “all counsuming” mental illness.
In the lead up to his breaking point Brian felt mentally drained and this transferred as physical pain and affected his game. After finally seeking medical help he spent 12 weeks in hospital where he was given twelve session of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). Brian takes the the listeners through the process of ECT which he says is not as barbaric as the movies make out. He did suffer some memory loss, which can be one of the side affects, but the treatment’s benefits way outweigh this:
I did suffer memory loss from it, certain people from the hospital, I don’t remember certain periods of time…but it’s a small price to pay for the benefit.”