JOEY BARTON revealed he questioned if life was worth living as he comes out of his "darkest" year.
The Bristol Rovers boss and ex-England midfielder says he thought loved ones would be better off without him and asked: 'How can I carry on?'
But the former Newcastle and Manchester City star turned for help after realising he didn't want his wife and three children – plus another kid coming – to suffer.
In an interview for Men's Health, the 39-year-old warned: "If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.
"It’s why it’s important to be honest and get it all out in the open."
The ex-QPR hardman believes getting "unfairly" sacked by Fleetwood Town in January 2021, suffering relegation with new club Rovers and two big court cases took him to his low point.
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And he held nothing about his bleakest moments back from interviewer Alastair Campbell, who was Tony Blair's spokesman as Prime Minister and has campaigned for mental health awareness after suffering depression.
Describing himself as an "eternal optimist" until his recent issues Barton said: "I didn’t think I was capable of getting depressed.
"But last year, professionally and personally, was the most challenging, the most difficult, I’ve ever had. It was the first time I had dark moments, really dark thoughts."
At one time he was: " looking at the window and thinking, ‘Would the fall kill me if I jumped out?’ But I decided that it wouldn’t".
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The two-time Burnley player added: "There’s all these people thinking, ‘You’re a wife beater, you’re a violent thug,’ and I know it’s not true".
Barton believed life "felt futile" but decided "I am the problem" – one night even worrying that if he went to sleep he'd never wake up.
He said he also thought: "The team is sh**, but if I go, they’ll be better. As for the family, if I’m not here, all that noise and nonsense just stops.
"I’ve got lots of money in the bank, I leave it to them, they can get on with their lives, everyone is better off without me."
Barton battled back to a good position, however – also restoring Rovers to League One, where they've won both games so far this season.
And he urged anyone who has similar problems to talk about them.
He explained how he contacted the League Managers’ Association and Sporting Chance – the mental health charity set up by Arsenal legend Tony Adams.
Barton also did anger management and studied psychology – to help him not only beat his own challenges but become a "better version" of himself.
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