MAGNUS HEDMAN stood on the balcony of his Stockholm flat and willed himself to jump.
It was 2011, nearly a decade after the Swedish goalkeeper left Coventry and four years since his stint at Chelsea.
Getty Images – Getty13 Former Prem keeper Magnus Hedman opened up on his battle with drugs and suicide
Depression haunted him and cocaine had become his only comfort.
The former Sweden and Celtic No 1 said: “I’d gone home and Googled the best ways towards suicide.
“I was stood on the balcony for hours, 12 floors up, thinking about jumping. Then I had a phone call from a friend that dragged me into the city centre to meet at their house, so I never took that step.”
After 17 years as a professional, not pulling on a pair of gloves each morning had hit Hedman hard.
Getty Images – Getty13 Ex-Chelsea shot-stopper Hedman was left suicidal after getting hooked on drugs
PA:Press Association13 Jose Mourinho signed Hedman as a back-up goalkeeper at Chelsea in 2006
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Yet the problems truly began one morning when he was sat in his flat, nursing a heavy hangover with a group of mates.
One offered him amphetamine, the Class-B drug known as speed.
Hedman, who won 58 caps, added: “I thought I could just try it — but I got addicted straight away and was that way for four years.”
It began with speed, yet his habit quickly progressed to cocaine as he blew his fortune by using the drug on a daily basis.
Hedman barely left his flat for THREE YEARS.
Getty Images – Getty13 Hedman willed himself to jump from his Stockholm flat balcony 12 floors up
Getty Images – Getty13 Hedman barely left the flat for three years while addicted to cocaine
The 45-year-old explained: “The drugs helped me feel calm and not have to worry so much — but it ruined my life in other aspects.
“I now realise that when I gave up football I had just replaced it with something else, which is very normal for an addicted person.”
Hedman is calm as he relives his darkest moments in a whisper, describing how he was trapped in the “claws of addiction” — with each high merely another brief escape from his crushing depression.
He recalled: “I identified as being Magnus the footballer for so many years. Inside that world, I knew how to face problems and how to deal with issues.
“After my career, there was a big question mark. I began asking myself all the time, ‘Who is Magnus the human being’?
PA:Empics Sport13 Hedman made 134 appearances for Coventry between 1997 and 2002
Getty Images – Getty13 Hedman represented Sweden on 58 occasions
“It made me anxious and worry a lot. I didn’t feel safe or grounded during that period when I stopped.”
A search for identity saw Hedman start to party on a regular basis.
His marriage to pop star wife Magdalena broke down — and his relationships with his two children fractured as the cocaine took hold.
Hedman admitted: “I just couldn’t function without it, or at least I thought I couldn’t.
“It made me feel alive and happy in the beginning.
“But as the disease works over time, the drugs stop giving you the same affect and just creates more anxiety and more problems.”
PA:Press Association13 Hedman's marriage to pop star wife Magdalena broke down
Getty Images – Getty13 Hedman's relationship with his children was fractured due to the addiction to drugs
Wild parties soon turned into a solitary search for escape, with the former Premier League star snorting lines of cocaine alone in his flat.
Hedman said: “I could sit totally alone using drugs to disappear from something I didn’t know I wanted to disappear from. I was trying to hide from real life — and that big black hole I had inside of me.
“Just to get dressed when you feel depressed can be a massive test.”
Business meetings were cancelled, plans with pals postponed.
Concerned friends then introduced Hedman to a woman called Mia, who worked in mental health.
Getty Images – Getty13 Hedman would snort drugs while home alone
PA:Press Association13 Hedman celebrates victory for Sweden against Poland
When his lowest ebb finally came — when he felt nobody understood — she was the one he turned to.
Hedman said: “You feel ashamed and embarrassed, like a low-life.
“I didn’t want to live any longer, I felt that everybody else was stupid, that no one understood me. I’d just given up on life, really.”
But Mia proved to be the safe pair of hands Hedman needed as he stood just inches from death.
She coaxed him away from the edge of the balcony and into the city.
Getty Images – Getty13 A friend called Mia who worked in mental health helped Hedman recover
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Mia then took Hedman to a recovery centre, where he spent the next month weaning off drugs.
Today, he is proud to say he is sober and clear of depression.
That is thanks to regular recovery meetings, ensuring he eats and drinks well, meditates and avoids booze- fuelled parties.
But Hedman’s haunting experience makes him believe there is only one real route to recovery.
He warned: “It’s always good to speak to friends — but they are not psychologists.
Getty Images – Getty13 Hedman believes only professionals can help those with mental health problems
“It’s best to speak to someone you don’t have a connection with, someone professional.”
Hedman is fixing his relationships with his children and spends time doing motivational speaking.
He has just returned from a two-week business venture in Los Angeles.
He revealed: “I’m building some new things which are still a secret — but very exciting.” At last, Hedman has a reason to live again.