England Cricket star Ben Stokes has opened up about his battle with anxiety
Stokes opted out of his sport for six months after his father’s death.
Ben Stokes shares his story in a new documentary
The England Test captain talks exclusively to Ali Martin about a new documentary, experiencing panic attacks, coping with grief, and wanting to walk away from cricket and losing his interest amid IPL 2022
“I didn’t know what was happening,” he says. “The best way to explain it is, not a two-week thing but a huge buildup of multiple things over time.”
“It’s like you’re a glass bottle, you keep putting things in there, and eventually over time there’s no more room and it smashes. ”
“That’s what happened in Nottingham – the bottle smashed. But it’s hard to remember what happened, I can’t really explain it.”
“Never crossed my mind. When we agreed to do the film, I told them I wanted it to be me – to be authentic. Not just make me look good. It wouldn’t be doing it justice if I said ‘I didn’t want that in there or we slid around things.
“I could have waited to speak about [my panic attacks] after things were better but I think what is powerful [about this film] is speaking at that low point.
“People who know me will think: ‘Wow. Fucking hell, that’s crazy.’”
His eventual route out? “It was a case of completely stepping away from the sport
Ben Stokes says talks about his struggles after his father’s death
“But it’s not done just because I’m back playing. I still speak to the doc, but not as regularly, and I’m still taking medication every day. It’s an ongoing process.”
Stokes is unsure of the specific medication – “I just take what the doctor prescribed” – but knows it is working after spending a career of dizzying highs
Ben Stokes hopes his candid documentary helps people
“The message he wants to share – one that feels groundbreaking from an incumbent Test captain with a public image of being indestructible – is that seeking help is essential.
“This stuff isn’t something you pick and choose, which day you’ll feel top-drawer, which day you’ll feel like shit.
The most frustrating thing, and something I understand now, is saying ‘it’ll all be alright. No, shut up, stop being so arrogant.
“I was like that. I was very optimistic when I was younger, when my wife, Clare, had shit days I’d say ‘get on with it. I never got why she was so pissed off by it.”
“But it’s not done just because I’m back playing. I still speak to the doc, but not as regularly, and I’m still taking medication for anxiety every day. It’s an ongoing process.” Stokes added