Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas has today shared a heartbreaking post about the battle with depression he has faced over the last few years, following his wife’s miscarriage while carrying their second child and her recent tragic, untimely death.
Thomas opened up about how his battle with depression began a few years ago, when he and his late wife, Gemma tried for a second child, only for IVF treatment to fail, leaving them both crestfallen after months of treatment.
Gemma would eventually fall pregnant after the unsuccessful treatment, only to suffer a miscarriage four weeks into the pregnancy.
Thomas chronicles how he spiralled into depression after his wife’s miscarriage, keeping his condition a secret from friends and colleagues while continuing to present for Sky Sports.
The 45-year-old former Blue Peter presenter describes himself as feeling ‘angry, disappointed, and bitter’, writing, “I struggled to be around close friends. The church we normally went to on a Sunday morning became a painful place to be, and most weeks I would last about twenty minutes before I walked out of the service and found solace in a coffee cup in the nearby shop. I was starting to struggle to even get out of bed.”
Thomas goes onto reveal how that Christmas he, for the first time, contemplated taking his own life during a walk home from a night out with some friends. Fortunately, he made the journey home, but broke down in front of his friends before opening up about his recent struggles.
Despite counselling and medication helping restore the Sky Sports presenter to his former self for several years, last September, Thomas once again started to struggle, with insecurities over his ability to do his job crippling him with anxiety.
“Unlike before I have no idea what triggered it. All I remember was that it was a Thursday in late September. Sky Sports has started a new show called ‘The Debate’ and it was my turn that week to present it that night. It’s a good show; but for a presenter pretty straight forward – two guests, one hour, discuss the main football talking points of the day, job done.
“Yet as I awoke that morning a new, strange bedfellow had entered my life. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. The most bizarre thoughts began to churn through my mind – what if the guests aren’t very talkative? What if I can’t think of another question? What if I’m just shown up to be really rubbish at my job?
“Most of it was completely irrational, yet at that moment in my mind it wasn’t irrational it was real, palpable fear.”
Throughout the post, Thomas constantly references his wife, Gemma as his calming influence, who helped him through his bouts of depression and anxiety and with his panic attacks, which makes the suddenness of her untimely death, due to blood cancer, all the more devastating.
“My dear Gemma had been diagnosed with blood cancer. Three days later my wife was dead, leaving me devastated and my precious boy Ethan without his Mum.
“Why write this? Why when I should be grieving talk about this? I am grieving; it’s the most painful, brutal and lonely experience I have ever been through. But I know from hearing the stories of others, is that what I have been through is the life narrative for so many, and in particular men, but us men are rubbish at even beginning to whisper those fears and articulate what is actually an illness.”
Words cannot begin to describe the bravery Simon Thomas has shown in sharing his story and his grief with the world and he should be applauded for doing so, as still, far too many people suffering with depression, anxiety and mental health issues suffer in silence.
Please, if you’re reading this, don’t be one of the silent ones. There is always someone willing to listen and willing to help.