In talking to the The Telegraph (aka The Voice of Concern) today, soufflé-haired soccer critic Robbie Savage has revealed “I am nothing like the man I am on TV…I am very insecure.”
With not a glimmer of irony, the paper says the former footballer has “lifted the lid” on his mental health issues, has admitted to anxiety and is urging men to seek help if they are finding that acting out current masculine stereotypes is proving to be of little use in countering feelings of worthlessness brought on by the despair and self-loathing segments of the emotional colour wheel.
(Full disclosure: Saint Peacock, unable to scale the Telegraph paywall and unwilling to make the four storey walk down to the paper shop until later, has filled in that last clause with words it expects to find when finally it is able to read the full piece.)
Hats off, of course, to Robbie Savage. Every little helps.
It’s perhaps a little premature to hope that one day the football grounds of England will echo with chants such as “Feeling suicidal? Seek help!” or “You’ll never walk alone – if you just talk to a trained professional,” but his point is strong.
Heaven knows Savage’s punditry has its detractors, but he does radiate a sense of utter faith in his opinions, never appears to have been once bothered by crushing self-doubt, and pours plenty of energy into his work.
So when even the Dill the Dog of sports analytics starts revealing an ongoing need to discuss his emotional requirements with a doctor, there’s really no excuse for anyone to feel they really still need to be alone with their dark thoughts.
It does raise one interesting question, though. If Robbie Savage’s annoying extreme confidence is actually a mechanism to help him cope with his insecurity, then what exactly are those who feel in need of greater confidence aspiring to?
After all, if one were to finally gather the courage to step through the door of the walk-in clinic – after first making sure the street were empty of judgmental passers-by – and unburden themselves thus: “I would like to be more confident, like, say, Robbie Savage” then where does one go on hearing, “I’m terribly sorry, sir/madam/other, but I’m afraid that’s just a protective shield”?
Perhaps the only conclusions are that insecurity and its awful friends can lurk behind even the peppiest faces and the highest hair; that choosing from the celebrity range is a common mistake when deciding which mask of confidence one aspires to, and that if not even the Match of the Day team is immune from mental health issues, is anyone safe?