Humphries discusses mental health issues: "To this day, I have no idea how I was able to even play"
Luke Humphries emerged at the forefront of the darting world during two World Championship including the 2020 edtiion when he proved he wasn't a flash in the pan by making it to the last eight.
But under the surface, Humphries was suffering from mental health issues which have aimed to derail his future in the sport but he hasn't let it happen.
“To this day, I have no idea how I was able to even play, let alone put out the reigning World Champion. I’d enjoyed some decent wins that year but nothing to suggest I was capable of beating Rob, it was a huge win for me. Ten minutes after the game, Dave Clark interviewed me for Sky Sports and I felt absolutely fine," he said to Red Dragon Darts.
“Everything was then relatively ok until it happened again in April 2019. I was leading James Wade in a European event when my mind just went. This time, I began doubting myself with every dart and went from winning the match to losing emphatically.
“At that point, I was ready to throw in the towel, my health came first. If darts was creating anxiety issues then that would be the thing to give up. I’d rather go back to working as a roofer than living like that with the pressure of the game affecting my mental health.
“When I put up a post on social media to say I was seriously thinking about quitting professional darts, it caused quite a stir. I have always been incredibly close to my parents and brother, they are my rock and forever there to offer me love and support.
“My Dad advised me against making any hasty decisions. He reminded me of the hard work and dedication I’d put in to get this far. Together with my Mum, they suggested I take a breather to think, not to throw it all away without exploring every avenue of help available.
“When I spoke to my management team as well as my sponsors, they also offered plenty of support. They recommended I take a step back, maybe miss a few events, and have a long think about my future. I even went to see a cognitive behavioural therapist which helped.
“Nowadays, the feelings of anxiety are still there but I now understand it. I no longer allow the sensations to be confused with anything else, I know immediately that it’s not a serious medical condition. I’ve learnt that it’s just a case of drawing that distinction enabling me to deal with it much better.”