Soccer professional Niklas Schmidt has decided to make his depression public. That was in January when the Werder Bremen team was at the training camp in Murcia, Spain. That's when Schmidt took the opportunity to speak to journalists for the first time about the "major mental problems" that plague him. In an interview on the "Sportblitz" program on Radio Bremen, he spoke in more detail about the disease and how he dealt with it.
In the interview, the 25-year-old reported that he had even thought about ending his sporting career early. "When you're in a depression, you question everything," he said on the show, adding: "To end your career abruptly, the impulse wasn't there. But the considerations were there to do it."
But it didn't get that far. "I'm doing much better than I was half a year ago. But it's difficult because it's so dynamic. There are incredible mood swings that you have. Every day is different," said Schmidt.
When he's on the pitch, he feels incredibly comfortable and can hide everything. However, he was no longer able to switch off privately. "It was incredibly difficult, I was never really free in my head," said Schmidt about the disease, which profoundly affects the thinking, feeling and acting of those affected. "It felt like a volcano that wants to erupt but can't erupt. Eventually it happened."
Shortly before he was not included in the squad for the away game at SC Freiburg in October 2022, he had a small outbreak. A short time later, the midfielder sought a conversation with Werder coach Ole Werner and those responsible at the club, Schmidt said. "I have a great coach who listened to me and understood me. That helped me a lot, I felt like I was in very good hands right away."
Previously, only Schmidt's immediate environment had noticed changes in his behavior. He often withdrew and wanted to be alone. He often didn't want to hear that. After a visit from his mother, he finally decided to seek help. Since then he has been receiving psychological treatment. "It was just before twelve," Schmidt said in retrospect in the interview.
He wants to promote seeing the disease as a disease and addressing the issue more openly: "I want to tell people that there is no shame and that you can live with it."