Snooker megastar Joe Swail ultimate night discovered he’s struggling with crippling melancholy – and has ceased the professional ranks after a glittering 30-year career.
The Belfast potter – who twice reached the World Championship semi-finals at the Crucible and is one of the most famous players on the circuit – confessed he has barely lifted a cue because exiting the World Championship qualifiers in April.
Swail, who will turn 50 next month, stated: “I were fighting despair. Snooker may be very fickle, a game of highs and lows. I had stopped playing it – I had fallen out of love with it.
“Snooker triggers certain health troubles. You bring snooker domestic with you.
“I had stopped practising so I became under-organized for tournaments. Then you’re dropping matches and it’s far a vicious circle mentally.”
Swail also found out that he had discussed despair with fellow Ulster snooker megastar Mark Allen, who has also suffered from the infection within the past.
Five-time international champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has also battled mental demons.
Swail introduced: “I had depression for some years earlier than I even realised I had it and although I would not cross as a long way as to mention I become suicidal, it’s miles a slippery slope.
“I sought to assist for it and thankfully it changed into the right assist.
“It is good to speak about your troubles. It is so essential to get the awareness available, get it out inside the open. The first step is going to look your medical doctor.
“I even have at instances used alcohol to try to defeat it however I in no way touched pills.”
Swail – who has earned almost £1,300,000 in prize cash – feels losing off the expert excursion seven years in the past may additionally have sparked his despair.
“There were lots of things happening in my lifestyles but I felt I become too younger to retire. It changed into a round that point that I turned into identified with melancholy,” he said.
“I might describe it as being in a black hollow.”
Swail, from Joy Street in the Markets, is partly deaf and has had growing issues with tinnitus.
“My partial deafness has never adversely affected my snooker but tinnitus can be a trouble because it has brought on me difficulty with drowsing,” he stated.
Swail says he has no doubts that retiring from the professional recreation is the right element to do.
“I even have had sufficient of the seasoned circuit, the consistent round of flights and resorts. I just need to experience my existence. I am in an awesome area mentally in the mean time,” he stated. “Snooker is a pressurised state of affairs. It is quality to have kicked off the shackles.
“I am loving having the time to get out onto the golf course.
“It is hard being primarily based in Ireland and looking to travel to play in tournaments. I may not leave out trying to try this.
“I can do what I want now, like to spend time with my family.
“I even have a deep interest in education and that it some thing I would love to commit greater time to. In the past I even have had to turn down training classes because I changed into flying off to tournaments – my time wasn’t my very own.”
But Swail will honestly now not be lost to the aggressive game as he might be gambling against the likes of Jimmy White and Stephen Hendry on the senior’s tour.
“I am going to play at the senior’s excursion next season but there is not the same time and dedication required so that is something I am searching ahead to,” he said.
Joe suffered a heartbreaking setback while his dad Billy exceeded away 18 months ago. His dad becomes his number one fan, journeying to tournaments all over the UK. His mother Josephine handed away in 1998.
“I grew up via the Troubles and there had been continually barricades on the give up of our road,” recalled Joe, who changed into stimulated to take in the sport by looking Belfast legend Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins on tv as a boy.
“I used to constantly be sporting a cue case which wasn’t an extremely good component to be wearing in the one’s dark days. I genuinely had a guy who had served as a soldier in the Troubles technique me some years ago to tell me he remembered the cue case however that he and his colleagues knew the Swail boys had been snooker gamers and we had been k.
“I become very fortunate to have had an extremely good family upbringing and my dad used to come to the Crucible and different venues.
“I know he possibly felt I underachieved barely – he knew what I become able to. But I look returned on my career with notable satisfaction. I recognize I burnt the candle at both ends at times – but I had a super time and I loved myself.
“I turned into in the international’s top 16 and performed professionally for almost 30 years. Not many can say that.”