'The depression was something I've had from a younger age' - Mitchell Johnson opens up on impact of retirement on his mental health

Srinjoy Sanyal
·2-min read

Mitchell Johnson with the 2015 World Cup
Mitchell Johnson with the 2015 World Cup

Many cricketers have started to open up on their struggles with mental health. After Glenn Maxwell, Nic Maddinson and Will Pucovski, former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson recently revealed that he has had depression from a young age and that cricket actually helped him through it.

However, Mitchell Johnson added that his mental wellbeing has worsened ever since he stopped playing competitive cricket in 2018. The left-arm speedster admitted that he used to struggle with his inner demons while being on tours away from his family.

“I’ve found it tougher since retiring from cricket. All of a sudden, you’re not doing as much. You sort of lose your purpose a little bit. I struggle with, probably, confidence at times. I’m in that transition now where I’ve been out of playing cricket for about two years,” Mitchell Johnson told Channel 7’s SAS Australia.

“Yeah plenty of times (I found retirement hard). I found out I’ve got depression … but I think the depression was something I’ve had even from a younger age. It [cricket] sort of blocked things out in a way. It sort of hid the depression, but there were a lot of times where you would go back to your room, you’re away from family and you start to dwell on things,” Mitchell Johnson, who was the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2009 and 2014, said.

‘Throughout my cricket career, I actually just dealt with it,’ says Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell Johnson picked up 37 wickets and was the Player of the Series in the 2013-14 Ashes
Mitchell Johnson picked up 37 wickets and was the Player of the Series in the 2013-14 Ashes

About using cricket to keep the mental struggles at bay, Mitchell Johnson stated that playing kept his mind going. But ever since his retirement, he has had more time on his hands, which has often led to unnecessary thoughts.

“Through my cricket career, I actually just dealt with it [depression]. It’s just about me now actually moving forward and taking it upon myself to be active with certain things, to keep my mind going.

"You have your moments where you struggle with it really bad and it can be tricky when you’ve got a lot of time to think about things. You’ve just got no control whatsoever and your mind starts playing those tricks on you, you start thinking of the worst,” Mitchell Johnson signed off.

Mitchell Johnson, who won the World Cup in 2007 and 2015, picked up 590 wickets in 256 internationals for Australia. He is currently working as a broadcaster for Fox Cricket in the Big Bash League and the JLT Cup.