England’s Ben Stokes reveals ongoing mental health battle and ‘anger’ at cricket sacrifices
- Test captain says he is still on anxiety medication and is happy to discuss it
- Stokes admits resentment towards cricket after his commitments left him unable to visit his dying father as much as he would have liked
England test captain Ben Stokes kept the dialogue on mental health going as the all-rounder revealed he was still on anxiety medication after returning from a six-month break to focus on his well-being.
The 31-year-old took a rest from the sport last year to focus on his mental health as he was suffering from a series of panic attacks following the loss of his father to brain cancer almost two years ago.
He announced in July he would retire from one-day cricket, citing the “unsustainable” rigour of playing all three formats of the game.
“I never thought I would be on medication to help me for that kind of stuff. I am not embarrassed or ashamed to say it because I needed the help at the time,” Stokes said in an Amazon documentary, which will be released on Friday.
“But it’s not done just because I’m back playing. I still speak to the doc, not as regularly, and I’m still taking medication every day. It’s an ongoing process.”
Stokes said he felt deep resentment towards cricket when he took the break because he had been unable to visit his dying father as much as he wanted.
“So I had a real thing with cricket at the time I took a break. I was really angry at the sport because it was dictating when I could see my dad,” he told The Telegraph in an interview.
He stressed the importance of opening up about mental health, adding it was not human nature to pretend to be fine.
“I find sometimes people are a bit nervous to go into the detail about that kind of stuff with me. It’s perceived that you can’t feel a certain way – that’s a sign of weakness, to show that you are not mentally feeling great,” he said.
“People think they can’t ask people who have struggled. No. It’s fine. I’ll happily tell you as much as I possibly can.”