Town star Jason Jarrett has spoken about his battle with depression which saw him give up the game for almost two years.
The 33-year-old midfield ace, who has shone for the Shaymen since signing in the summer, said his depression left him in a “dark place” which eventually forced him to give up the game for a short time.
Jarrett, who made over 200 football league appearances with 14 different clubs, said: “From the age of about 27 I’d suffered from severe depression and it stopped me being able to perform how I wanted to.
“It really affected my time at Preston and had a huge impact on my training. I just wasn’t able to perform how I wanted to. It wasn’t just depression about my football, it was about life in general.
“I just wasn’t happy and was in a really dark place.
“Eventually I took the decision to stop playing.
“It’s very difficult to do something you’re not enjoying, especially when it’s your job.
“Football is impossible to perform if you are unhappy.
“I was letting myself down, so I had to sort myself out.”
Jarrett’s comeback has been to Town’s benefit, and fans have seen the midfielder’s undoubted quality first hand during the season so far.
His absence through suspension for a dubious red card picked up at Histon at the end of September was felt as Town struggled at home to Boston and Lincoln City.
And, as he falls back in love with the game as a player, he has turned his hand to refereeing local games at grass roots level on Sunday mornings in Blackpool and Preston.
“I’ve been meaning to do it for a few years, but I never got round to actually pulling my finger out and doing it,” he said.
“I think it’s a natural progression for footballers.
“I know most go into coaching or management but it’s always surprised me that more footballers don’t get into the refereeing side.
“We know the game pretty well, so I see it as a natural step. I’m on level seven at the moment. I did my courses at the Lancashire FA this summer.
“I’ve refereed about a dozen games and it’s going pretty well.”
“Hopefully me being a footballer and my experience in the game might make me a better referee. I wouldn’t say you have to have played the game to be a good referee though.
“There are plenty of good referees out of there at the moment who haven’t played the game.
“You look at top refs like Howard Webb, they haven’t played, but do such a good job.
“If it helps me, that’s great, but I wouldn’t say it’s vital.”