Ex-Chelsea ace Jesper Gronkjaer reveals brave four-year battle with depression and stress but is now off medication

FORMER Chelsea star Jesper Gronkjaer has opened up on his four-year battle with depression and stress.

The Denmark winger made 119 Blues appearances, scoring 11 goals, following a £7.8million move from Ajax in 2000.

He left in 2004 to spend a year with Birmingham City, and played for Atletico Madrid, Stuttgart and Copenhagen before retiring in 2011.

Gronkjaer has since worked as a pundit for Danish TV. However he was diagnosed with depression in 2017, and spent over nine months off sick.

The 80-cap international has now revealed he has finally come off his medication.

Gronkjaer posted a picture of his Escitalopram anti-depressant tablets on Twitter.

The 43-year-old wrote: "Last pill taken 3 3/4 years after the first … hopefully!

"You were a good support, despite all your side effects, as the stress and depression rumbled away.

"Although it was never a goal to let you out of my life, I think it is the right time. #depression #stress #burnout."

Escitalopram is a powerful drug used to treat anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder or panic attacks as well as depression.

Gronkjaer previously spoke of his torment in a 2019 Danish TV interview.

He said: "I didn't realise I was about to drive over the edge. I got sick with severe stress and burnout.

"I got extreme headaches, and would stare at the wall. I couldn't listen to music or watch TV.

"I had rashes and lost hair, had disturbed vision and was in so much pain.

"I had to make a clean break with all the work I was part of."

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EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123

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