Dutch defender Gregory van der Wiel has revealed that he is battling with panic attacks and anxiety.

The former Paris Saint-Germain player has been dealing with these issues for over a year now.

The 32-year-old wrote an open letter to fans detailing his current situation and published it on his personal website. 

Dutch defender Gregory van der Wiel (left) played for Paris Saint-Germain between  2012-16

Van der Wiel who started his career with Ajax stated that years of putting his emotions to one side and just getting on with his career eventually built up within him. 

‘As a professional football player I always had the pressure to show the best side of myself, no matter how I was actually feeling. I always put my emotions to the side and that is something that has built up after all those years. Frustration, anger, disappointment, sadness, I have put it all on the side and just went on with my life and career.’ He wrote.

The Dutchman had brief stints at Fenerbache and Cagliari but barely featured for either team, however he joined MLS side Toronto FC in 2018 and made 27 appearances and notched four assists in a great first season with the club.

However, after just one season the former Dutch international left the Canadian side.

Van der Wiel enjoyed a great first year with MLS side Toronto FC but left the following season

‘I finally had a great year in Toronto. I loved the team, loved the people and the city. I envisioned myself playing and living in Toronto for at least another 5-6 years. Then, out of nowhere, I had to leave because of a professional and healthy discussion with the coach, a coach that I liked very much. This hurt a lot and it still does.’ 

Van der Wiel attempted to resurrect his career by moving to Los Angeles and even offered to play for one the LA teams for FREE, but after some initial positive responses they never got back to him.

It appeared at the time that his career was coming to a premature end and that realisation began to take its toll on the Dutchman. 

The 32-year-old former Dutch international is now rebuilding his career at RKC Waalwijk

‘At that time I kept on going and didn’t realize what it did to me emotionally. On top of that is the feeling of not knowing ‘what is next’ for me in my life. Waking up everyday and not knowing what to do was killing. I went from a routined life of training every day and playing matches every week to having no goals or routine at all. Six months later my panic attacks started. ‘

The former Dutch international is now in a better place and receiving the support he needs, and van der Wiel is focused on rebuilding his career at Eredivise club RKC Waalwijk, 

‘I am trying to get back on the pitch no matter what and I am very fortunate that I have found a club that is willing to help me make this happen. RKC Waalwijk received me with open arms and offered to help me with everything. I am not there yet but I am working hard every day to make my comeback. I am not sure if this is going to happen but time will tell. No matter the outcome, I am very grateful for the amazing help that I get from everyone at RKC.

‘It has not been an easy year for me but I am doing much better now and I am very excited for the things ahead. ‘

Former PSG defender Gregory van der Wiel reveals he’s been suffering with anxiety and panic attacks

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