Indian cricketer Robin Uthappa has revealed that he suffered from depression and had suicidal thoughts on a daily basis between 2009 and 2011.
Uthappa made his India debut in 2006 against England and has till now played 46 ODIs and 13 T20Is. He was also the member of the team, when India lifted the inaugural T20 World Cup of in 2007.
“When I made my debut in 2006, I wasn’t overtly aware of myself. A lot of learning and development has happened since then. Right now, I am extremely aware of myself and really clear on my thoughts and myself. It’s easier for me to catch myself now if I’m slipping somewhere in someplace,” Uthappa said while while speaking in the second session of ‘Mind, Body and Soul’, a platform brought forward by The Royal Rajasthan Foundation, in association with NS Vahia Foundation & McLean Hospital (Harvard Medical School Affiliate).
During the session, he was joined by John Gloster, Adriana Bobinchock and Akanksha Rathi Maheshwari for a conversation around the power of positivity and kindness, and how they can be our strongest weapons in these trying times.
Uthappa on his mental illness
“I feel I’ve reached this place because I’ve gone through those tough phases wherein, I was clinically depressed and had suicidal thoughts. I remember around 2009 to 2011, it was constant and I would deal with that on a daily basis.
“There were times where I wasn’t even thinking about cricket, it was probably the farthest thing in my mind. I was thinking about how I would survive this day and move on to the next, what’s happening to my life and in which direction am I heading.
“Cricket kept my mind off of these thoughts but it became really difficult on non-match days and during the off-season. On days I would just be sitting there and would think to myself on the count of three, I’m going to run and jump off of the balcony but something kind of just held me back.
“That is when I started noting this down about myself in a diary and started the process of just understanding myself as a person. I then started to seek outside help to make those changes I wanted to make in my life,” he added.
Uthappa’s 50-run innings vs Pakistan in 2007 T20 WC
‘I feel sometimes being negative is necessary’
The Rajasthan Royals batsman further said he has no regrets in his life with the experiences he has had.
“I feel sometimes being negative is necessary. I’m someone who believes in the balance of life and I believe one cannot at all times be positive in life. Being negative or having negative experiences, going through trials and tribulations is sometimes necessary for one’s own growth,” Uthappa said.
“For me, all my experiences have moulded me into the person I am today and I have no regrets on my negative experience as they’ve helped me develop positively.”
“You need to go through the lulls to make you feel ecstatic about the positives. I feel life is about balance and we can’t have it one way, a lopsided life is not going to be great, both negative and positive experiences are essential,” the 34-year-old added.
Uthappa’s last over heroics vs England in 2007
Robin Uthappa on Gambhir’s leadership
In other development, Uthappa relived his days at IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir.
“What stood out for me was that he allowed people to express themselves and didn’t interfere with anyone’s games. He made sure he built a sense of security within the group and that I think also is integral in winning tournaments like the IPL and that’s what successful captains do,” Uthappa said in Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“In my experience of winning tournaments, what I’ve seen is that successful captains give people their space to express themselves and make sure that everyone within the group is feeling secure. So, they communicated to players even who are not playing, there’s a sense of communication that’s growing within the side, you need to bind with players specially in a tournament like the IPL, guys who aren’t playing also play a big factor in building momentum and creating the right energy within the group,” he added.
“Gambhir made sure he spent a lot of time with the reserves, he trained with them, he had meals with them, so they never felt left out,” Uthappa added further.