Monty Panesar has ascended in the ranks of cricket since his Test cricket debut in 2006 against India in Nagpur and One Day International debut for England in 2007. He is foremost a left-arm finger spin bowler. His sporting success was prophesied early in his career by former England head coach Duncan Fletcher, who described him as “the best finger spinner in the world”.
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Monty has not formally retired from the sport but he has been conspicuously absent from the game over the last six years.
Last year, the England spinner broke his silence, revealing he had been harbouring mental health issues, which was affecting his performance.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, he said: “I was in denial that things weren’t right with me and I probably fell slightly out of love with the game.
“As a sportsperson you always think you’re a strong person and you can get through it, but eventually I had to face up to it and realise that I probably didn’t enjoy the game as much as I did.”
Monty continued: “It had an effect on the dressing room and on how I played the game so that was a difficult time for me to go through, but it was good for me to go through the whole process because it clears your mind and talking about your story helps you to mentally and physically be in a better place.”
The England spinner was eventually diagnosed with paranoia after visiting hypnotherapist, he revealed.
Monty said the mental health issue made him feel like the tides of opinion were turning against him, questioning his competency.
What is paranoia?
“Paranoia is thinking and feeling as if you are under threat even though there is no (or very little) evidence that you are,” explains Mind.
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According to the health site: “In paranoia, your fears become amplified and everyone you meet becomes drawn into that web. You become the centre of a threatening universe.”
You might think that:
- You are being talked about behind your back or watched by people or organisations (either on or offline)
- Other people are trying to make you look bad or exclude you
- You are at risk of being physically harmed or killed
- People are using hints and double meanings to secretly threaten you or make you feel bad
- Other people are deliberately trying to upset or irritate you
- People are trying to take your money or possessions
- Your actions or thoughts are being interfered with by others
- You are being controlled or that the government is targeting you
It is important to note that paranoia is a symptom of some mental health problems and not a diagnosis itself, Mind adds.
It could signal depression, for example.
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How to treat it
Treating mental health issues require a careful assessment of a person’s individual case but generally treatment usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and medicines.
Monty found taking an “holistic” approach, which involved sharing his thoughts with friends and family helped him to confront his paranoia.
There are also a number of talking treatments available.
One of the most commonly prescribed is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
According to the NHS, CBT aims to help you understand your thoughts and behaviour, and how they affect you.
“CBT recognises that events in your past may have shaped you, but it concentrates mostly on how you can change the way you think, feel and behave in the present,” explains the health site.
There are also a number of medications that may be recommended in conjunction.
Research suggests that antidepressants can be helpful for people with moderate or severe depression.
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