Mark Enright on depression: “I was nearly at the point of no return”

The jockey spoke of his struggles on Friday Night Racing

BY offtheball.com 17:09 Friday 10 August 2018, 17:09 10 Aug 2018

Mark Enright enjoyed the greatest success of his riding career when he guided Clarcam to a shock Tote Galway Plate success at the start of August.

But in early 2015, Enright went public with his battle with depression and was widely praised after initially putting his absence down to a problematic appendix.

The 25-year-old jockey nicknamed ‘The Fish’ once feared his career was on the brink of collapse after struggling to cope with the uncertainty of being a freelancer.

Speaking on Friday Night Racing, Enright described how he dealt with his illness and the hope of helping others who are going through the same ordeal.

“I had been away from the game at the time for a while and I had been in St. Patrick’s Mental Hospital and I just got myself back together,” Enright told OTB.

“I had told some of my friends at the time. And if any more than two people know something it’s too many people. Some people knew – some people didn’t.

“I was a little bit paranoid going back into the weight room in Gore on the first day I started back. Who knew and who didn’t know. I said originally I had been out with my appendix.

“I spoke to Adrian McGoldrick – the turf club doctor – who was unbelievable and I can’t thank the man enough for what he’s done for me.

“He’s retiring at the end of the year but he’s so good to me and all of us. I rang him and said: ‘Look Adrian, I’m a little bit worried about going back into the weight room and I’m a little bit paranoid of who knows and who doesn’t know – I don’t want to lie to people’.

Doctor Adrian McGoldrick. Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

“And he said: ‘Would you like to do something in the Racing Post?’ I thought about it for an hour or two and thought sure here it goes.

“I did it for myself and nobody else. I did it for my own conscience really and I wanted to let people know and move on. Everyone got it and it was much bigger than I was expecting it to be. And thankfully it’s helped a lot of people.

“The amount of text messages I was getting from people I’d be seeing every day to say they had been through it themselves. I was gobsmacked to see the amount of people who had gone through it.

“At the time I thought I was in this hole that I was never going to get out of. I genuinely thought I was the only person who was struggling with this and that nobody else could feel this bad.

“It’s as common as the flu. It is what is – it’s common now. The more people talk about it now, the better.

“It’s something I get a lot of now. After winning the Galway Plate, the word depression was brought up but I don’t mind because the more the word is used and people hear it – the better.

“People always say you need to talk and you need to tell people. But for me, a lot of the time it was: ‘What do I tell someone? I don’t know why I’m feeling like this. How do I verbally get this out? What do I say?’

“But I suppose you just have to tell them, I don’t feel quite right and maybe seek the help of a doctor. Just definitely get it out there to someone that I’m not 100 per cent.

“I had a breakdown. One Sunday I was walking home and to be honest I was nearly at the point of no return. I was walking home from the town and it the year that Mark Walsh was flying – he was almost champion jockey.

Jockey Mark Walsh. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

“It was the only day that year that Mark had no ride – he had a ride every other day. I had to pass my house to get to Mark’s house and I saw his car so I thought I’d go into him for a cup of tea.

“I was as low as I had ever been. And I just broke down into the cup of tea and it all flooded out. Thankfully Mark ran out and rang Adrian McGoldrick and he came over.

“Mark is the godfather to my daughter Sophie and he’s as good a friend as anyone could ask for. He’s a brilliant fella.”

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James Hopper

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