Caulker has given a frank interview about his major issues with mental illness and how he is thankful to still be alive.
The 25-year-old had the world at his feet after making his breakthrough at Tottenham and earned a call-up into the England squad where he scored on his debut and played against Sweden back in 2012.
But it was a completely different story away from the pitch as Caulker came close to ending his own life after struggling to deal with mental health issues.
Caulker, speaking in the Guardian, said: “‘I’ve sat here for years hating myself and never understood why I couldn’t just be like everyone else.
“This year was almost the end. I felt for large periods there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
“My way of dealing with [the pressures of football], even in the early stages of my career, was gambling.
“I’m an addict. I’m addicted to winning, which people say is a positive in football but certainly not when it extends to gambling.
“I’d had one last gamble and lost a hell of a lot of money in December. A last blowout.
“It was at that point I finally accepted I could not win; that there was no quick fix, no more daydreaming I could save the world through one good night on the roulette wheel.
“It was all a fantasy that took me away from having to feel anything. I contemplated suicide a lot in that period. A dark time.”
Caulker, who has played for eight different teams and made 123 Premier League appearances has sent out a clear message that footballers need more support and time away from football to deal with mental health issues.
The talented defender fears there could be more players who are in a similar position and are afraid to speak up about their problems as they fear losing their place in the team.
Caulker, who is still registered with QPR, added: “Football does not deal well with mental illness.
“Maybe it’s changing but the support mechanisms are so often not there.
“I’ve spoken to so many players who have been told to go to the Sporting Chance clinic and they’ve refused because they know, if they take time off, they’ll lose their place in the team.”
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