Snooker star Mark Allen on depression battle and how wife Kyla turned his life around
Snooker star Mark Allen has spoken about how his wife has brought happiness back into his life after helping him through his battle with depression.
The Antrim man opened up about how his life has now changed for the better, saying at one point he felt so low he "couldn't get out of bed" at times.
Now married to Kyla McGuigan, Allen admitted he was suffering from depression in 2011 due to the amount of travelling and hours spent alone in hotel rooms associated with the life of a professional snooker player.
His previous relationship with women's snooker world champion Reanne Evans also broke down. Currently ranked No.11 in the world, Mark, known as 'The Pistol', said his problems began to multiply.
"I was away a lot and struggling financially, and my relationship was getting really strained, and it all mounted up," he said.
"I wouldn't always answer the phone and wouldn't follow through with plans. Friends would make arrangements and I couldn't be bothered to go out. I'd avoid them. Sometimes I couldn't even manage to get out of bed." By 2010 he felt he was in despair.
"I did feel numb, but don't get me wrong, I did lie there and cry for no reason sometimes. Relationships are a big thing for me and I didn't feel like doing anything with anybody, even playing golf with friends. And snooker is one of the most psychological games you can play, and I was in a very dark place. My results became very poor."
Mark finally got professional support from a Holywood-based psychotherapist.
"It was very good just to talk to him, to explain things about certain people and situations to a third party," he said.
After meeting Kyla the couple went on to marry in Monaghan in May 2013.
"I'm a lot happier in my private life now and I'm enjoying snooker again.
"We get on really well; we're fun people and I needed that at the time. My last relationship had been too serious. We feel very young at heart, not too sensible yet!"