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Stan Collymore, Former Aston Villa Striker, Documents His Depression Over Twitter

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Former Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore has been documenting his battle with depression over Twitter and described how in his darkest days, he contemplated suicide as he felt his soul was "withering".

He told more than 120,000 followers they were "not alone" as he was "midway through the mother of all bouts of depressions/"

"Haven't tweeted most of this week", he announced from his Twitter account @StanCollymore, "and wasn't going to until I felt 100% but it's important I do (I think)".

The 40-year-old, who is now a sports commentator, continued to tell the world he had suffered depression "many times" during his life through a powerful series of tweets.

"I'm tweeting because the stigma around this illness suggests that us sufferers all of a sudden become useless, maudlin and unable to function. Well, I haven't seen daylight for four days now", he tweeted.

He described depression as being a "challenging, soul destroying cruel illness".

"To those of you who see no way out of the darkness right now, there are millions of us struggling but contributing like the rest."

He advised anyone suffering from depression to "please see your GP, call a friend, and at least reach out to someone who can guide you through".

"If like me", Collymore added, "you've been there many times before, know this..It's bloody dark but the clouds ALWAYS lift, so do everything you can to help yourself through, open up to help and the fog will lift."

The former striker linked to websites Depression Alliance and Mind - both organisations offering help to those suffering from the often crippling mental illness.

"Mental health issues don't mean we don't contribute, or are insane, or different", Collymore continued during his soul-baring Twitter announcement. "It means we have [an] illness that we address as we do any other."

The presenter signed off with the words "Stan Collymore, depressive & broadcaster".

Since revealing on Friday he suffered from the illness, Collymore says he has already had "hundreds" of messages from friends, journalists, doctors and fellow sufferers alike. He has elaborated on his experiences due to the volumes of "humbling" support and thanks he received for daring to bare his soul to thousands of his followers.

In his longer description of his experiences, which he posted on Saturday, he admits to having previously had suicidal thoughts - which he terms as a "practical reality".

Practical because "it takes a massive leap of faith to know that this time next week, life could be running again, smiling, my world big and my brain back as it should be.

"So what do some do? They don't take the leap of faith, they address a practical problem with a practical solution."

Collymore ends his heartfelt - and what must have been an excruciatingly personal - message with comforting words.

"You are not alone, there are millions of us."