For others, especially his wife, (below)there was the sorrow that ultimately he’d been unable to overcome his illness.
Several particulars of his wife’s story though have resonated with many of you who either have mental health problems or know others who do. They had adopted a young child recently and Robert Enke was terrified that if the authorities knew of his depression they would take the child away.
He’d also chosen to keep his illness to himself. Even players and coaching staff he knew well had no idea.
Here’s an article from Mathew Syed, a WHYS contributor about success and despair in sport standing side by side.
Can you understand why he took those decisions? Was he right to fear the consequences of being open about his depression?
I remember reading Marcus Trescothick’s excellent book about the debilitating mental illness which ended a superb batsman’s (left) England career.
And it’s not just about sport. I have suffered from depression for many many years and though i’m not comparing my experiences to the despair evidently felt by Robert Enke (or the breakdowns suffered by Marcus Trescothick) – i decided with a previous team to tell them about what was going on and why – at the time – i needed some time off for treatment.
The reactions were interesting ; some (and not necessarily the ones i thought) were supportive, some were not.
Two things happened in the days afterwards ; some people told me in private about their own mother/sister/friend’s problems with mental health (asking me to keep it secret) and some complete strangers from elsewhere in the BBC offered touching support.
I’m still not sure if i had my time again, i’d have done it. Even with an employer as brilliant and supportive as the BBC, it was still hard.
One friend of Ros’s told him this week that she knows of psychiatrist in the UK who advises all his patients to keep their problems secret from their employer because he believes it may jeopardise their career.
Here’s a Washington Post piece on the “should you tell ?” debate.
Though it’s difficult for some of you to hear, we’re also aware that there are others who think that mental illness is not comparable with physical illness and as such should be kept private as it’s not as serious and not worthy or proper consideration.
Your experiences and views are welcome.