Voice in head kept telling me 'you're sh*t' while millions saw me suffer mental breakdown live on TV

Voice in head kept telling me 'you're sh*t' while millions saw me suffer mental breakdown live on TV

25/11/2014 at 13:49Updated

The UK Championship is snooker's second biggest ranking event behind the World Championship. Five-times world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan has won the tournament four times in 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2007. Ronnie is hoping to be fit for his first-round match against Daniel Wells on Thursday after twisting his ankle two days before his opening match.

"

Might be one legged Snooker at the on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/yjMX5TI6Ok— Ronnie O'Sullivan (@ronnieo147) November 25, 2014"

The UK has given Ronnie some of his best and worst moments during a gilded 23-year career. Ronnie became the youngest winner of a ranking tournament at the age of 17 when he overcame Stephen Hendry 10-6 in 1993. He repeated the scoreline for his second UK title four years later, but it was a quarter-final against his old nemesis in 2006 that Ronnie describes as one of his worst moments in the sport. Ahead of the start of this year's tournament at the Barbican Centre in York, Ronnie reflects on the best and worst of times at the event. In his latest blog, Ronnie tells Eurosport's Desmond Kane how leading sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters has helped to improve his mental state since he walked out of a key match while millions watched on television.

---

The next episode of the Ronnie O’Sullivan show airs this Saturday at 12.30pm on British Eurosport 2 HD.

The UK Championships are LIVE on British Eurosport 2 HD from 1pm on Saturday.

---

WALKOUT AGAINST HENDRY SHOWED I NEEDED PROFESSIONAL HELP

My UK Championship quarter-final against Stephen Hendry in 2006 was an illustration of what can go wrong when you are not thinking straight.

I was losing 4-1 to Hendry in a best-of-17 frame quarter-final match when I played an awful positional shot in potting a black.

All I could hear was a voice in my head telling me "you're s**t". I didn't even know what was going on, but what I did know is that I didn't want to be playing any more snooker as I offered Stephen the handshake before getting out of the arena. I was just so low.

Walking out against Hendry was an accumulation of personal problems I was having off the table, and they all came to the surface with millions watching on television.

I was in sabotage mode.

That is probably one of my worst moments in snooker. And one I truly regret. Knowing then what I know now working with Dr Steve, it would not have happened. I would have hung in there for the long haul.

DOCTOR STEVE PETERS HAS GIVEN ME A FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE

I have to thank Dr Steve Peters for the support and professional help he has given me. All the work we have done has shown me I can overcome my negative emotions. And that I don't have to be unhappy and edgy.

But it does take work and regular maintenance to stay on top of these negative patterns that can resurface at any time given the chance.

This has been something I have worked hard on over the past two-three months. It has taken time and effort to slowly work out what it is I want in my life. It's so easy to just fall back into the rat race. It can happen to us all. I really have to ask myself on a constant basis: what really is important to me? Is it chasing snooker competitions? Is it chasing the money? Is it being a good father? Is it being a good partner? Is it being a fitness fanatic?

In the time and culture we live in, it is so hard not to get sucked in with work and no play without realising you are neglecting things that are important to you.

Working does give you self-esteem. We all need that in our lives, but it also comes with a lot of stress. This is where we need the balance.

TRUE HAPPINESS NOT FOUND IN WINNING TOURNAMENTS

I have to make sure there is a reward through my work that does not rely on my happiness coming from winning snooker competitions. That's not deep happiness. Those are just fleeting moments of happiness that soon pass. Real happiness is deep and long lasting.

We all can use each other for support. I need people. I need my work, and my family. But I also need to feed the soul. Without the soul feeling fulfilled, I'm doomed to a life on the treadmill of going nowhere.

I can now create my own happiness. Don't get me wrong, it takes some work and effort, but I'm determined to remain on the right path. I am in better control of my emotions since I walked out of that match against Stephen eight years ago. Since then, I've picked up three more world titles. I put most of that success down to my regular meetings with Steve.

And I'd love to add another UK Championship to my collection of four over the next few weeks.

"

Ronnie O'Sullivan with the trophy after winning the first UK Championship to be held in York in 2001. pic.twitter.com/5FcaJmxqFg— Snooker Memories (@SnookerMemories) November 24, 2014"

THE UK CHAMPIONSHIP HAS HELPED ME PRODUCE MY BEST SNOOKER

I've had some magical moments at the UK, the greatest of which is probably winning my first ranking event against one of my heroes in Hendry.

I've been lucky enough to win this event on four occasions. It is an event I love playing in, second only to the World Championship. I've played some great matches at the UK. One of my best was coming from 8-4 down to Peter Ebdon and winning 9-8 in 2001 - that was a great match.

I had already packed my bags at the interval. I was 6-2 down to Peter, and I was playing pretty badly. Then it clicked. My game came together, and I played great.

I then beat Mark Williams in the semis 9-6 in what was a high-quality match. It is one where I really enjoyed myself, and still remember it as one of the best matches I've played in.

In the final, I was feeling really good as I won 10-1 against Ken Doherty. I played some good stuff.

That was some of the best snooker I can remember playing.

"

Set up well underway for Coral UK Championship. 2 days till showtime!Tickets at http://t.co/UQrVRldNI4pic.twitter.com/NCs0c4Tl8S— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker1) November 23, 2014"

128 PLAYERS AT VENUE REMAINS TOO CHAOTIC

I hate to say it, but I still feel the UK has lost a little of its class as 128 players is far too many for the Barbican Centre to handle. It is all a bit hectic for such a fantastic tournament. Snooker is much better when there are not so many players crammed into a small venue.

Having said that, when the last 32 begins it starts to feel a lot more like a proper event. But it is still not what we are used to. Four tables in the main venue mean it does lose its intimacy. I believe snooker needs a smaller venue to create the tense atmosphere that makes the sport great. It feels like you're playing in a snooker hall when you have the four tables set up.

Come the last 16. we get down to the two-table set up. The whole atmosphere changes. It is just you, your opponent and the crowd. This is when a snooker event comes alive. You really feel like you are in a cauldron-like atmosphere. As a player, I live for these moments.

That why I liked the Champion of Champions tournament in Coventry so much. The one-table set up made it feel special. You had the whole audience's attention. You knew you were playing for every spectator that was there. Please let us have more of this set-up - we love it as top professionals.

The UK really marks the point when the season gets going. The big competitions come quick and fast. Before you know it, the World Championship is around the corner.

---

The next episode of the Ronnie O’Sullivan show airs this Saturday at 12.30pm on British Eurosport 2 HD.

The UK Championships are LIVE on British Eurosport 2 HD from 1pm on Saturday.

0
0