When news broke on Twitter yesterday morning about Gary Speed I found myself unusually upset about his tragic passing. Anyone who knows me knows that I am completely clueless about football, don’t follow a particular team and can count on one hand the amount of football players I could name.
Yet the shocking news that a man, admired by his peers and an inspiration to thousands, couldn’t see another way out really affected me.
One of the things that stuck with me the most were the comments from his close friends. Nobody knew that he was feeling this way, that he put on a brave face right up until his death. It’s truly scary to think that someone so close to the edge can suffer so silently. It could be anyone, it could be the person sat next to you on the bus, it could be a close friend or, quite simply, it could be you.
The rise of social media has to some extent replaced the need for a simple conversation. Many people now see a ‘like’ on a certain status as an acceptable way of keeping in touch with people. We’re all guilty of it to some extent – I certainly know I am – but by using social media as an excuse for a conversation, what are we missing?
Stan Collymore tweeted a very real and telling insight into his own struggle with depression yesterday morning. While we of course don’t know if this is the reason for Gary’s passing it’s a stark view into this disease that affects thousands of people.
So if you only do one thing this week, pick up the phone and speak to a friend – ask them how they are and make sure everything is ok. Because as this terrible incident has shown, even the strongest of people struggle sometimes.