Albion winger Anthony Knockaert has lifted the lid on his battle with depression.

The Frenchman received counselling last season, arranged by the club, following the break-up of his marriage and death of his dad.

The double-blow left Knockaert in a "really bad way", feeling "scared" and "crazy" and "always in a bad mood, arguing with people".

He has spoken out after keeping his problems a secret, even from some members of his own family, in the hope of helping other footballers and people in the same situation.

Albion manager Chris Hughton and team-mates rallied to Knockaert's aid when he lost his father, Patrick, aged 63, two years ago.

Knockaert, 26, (below) spearheaded promotion to the Premier League with 15 goals in 45 games before his form slumped last season.

The Argus: He revealed: "My wife left last summer during the pre-season, for some reason. And I just realised that I wouldn't be with my little boy any more.

"When I lost my dad, the most important thing for me was my wife and my baby, even if my mum was still here, she lives in France.

"They were the people that I needed and six months later, I realised that they weren't here anymore and just went through a depression.

"I didn't see it coming. The first month, August, I was sad but I was thinking, 'come on, you will be back'. In September and October it was just getting worse and worse and I was just in a bad way. I was getting worse and worse until I had to say something to the club.

"I spoke with Bruno (club captain) last December and said 'listen, I can't keep going like this'. And Bruno went to see the manager, the manager came to talk to me and said we are going to get you a counsellor and since it happened I've started to be a bit better and better, she helped me a lot.

"I saw her for a good few months and since then I'm really happy again.

"I was in a really bad way. I had my best friend at home who helped me a lot. He was seeing everything and seeing me in a bad way.

"You don't obviously want to talk about that to anyone, because it's personal things.

"It's really hard to tell your problems to people, especially when you are going through that period. You can't really talk.

"It's already hard to talk to a counsellor about you life and your problems, so you won't be able to talk to people.

"That was the worst for me, to see some comments, some people some media, saying I'm not at my level, I'm a Championship player.

"It was really hard to take, because I knew there was a reason. I was just not able to tell why and say to people what happened.

"Now I've used this is an experience for me and because I'm good again. I'm just going to tell it, that I've been through really bad depression.

"I didn't see it coming but it's part of life. I'm happy in myself again and really focused again and that I can again show my level."

The Argus: Knockaert's troubles manifested themselves on the pitch last season when he was sent-off at Everton for a reckless tackle (above).

He said: "I wanted to leave a message to the fans, to almost apologise for what I was doing on the pitch last year, but it wasn't my fault.

"When you are going through depression I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I take it as an experience. You need to move forward and life goes on.

"When you have help from the club like I did again last year it's just something special. That's why I am here today, happy and ready to go again and do even more for this club.

"To show the desire that I showed, for example on Monday (at Southampton). I will never forget what they have done for me since I've been here."

Knockaert is back in top form ahead of Tottenham's visit to the Amex on Saturday.

He has provided assists in three of the last four games after only one throughout last season.

He said: "It's not even about assists or anything, it's just you can see on the pitch I'm myself again.

"I work hard, I don't scream for no reason, I'm just myself again and I think I deserve it because when you are going through stuff like this...I'm just so happy to see that again from myself."

Knockaert (below) hopes by talking openly about his plight and recovery that he can encourage others suffering from depression to seek help.

The Argus: "I "I just want to leave a message to footballers and just people in general that as soon as they are going through this it's really important to go and talk to someone and not be scared," he said.

"It can just catch you out. Depression is a really bad thing. I was one of those, even two, three or four years ago, to say when people talked to me about depression 'what is this?'

"You don't really take it seriously until it happens to you, then you realise what life is about because you are going through the worst period of your life.

"The worst is you never think it will go away, that you will be like this for the rest of your life.

"I was making myself scared, thinking I was starting to become crazy. I was always in a bad mood, arguing with people. That wasn't my fault, I was going through a bad period and just didn't control anything else.

"That's why it was important in my eyes to let other people know, if they are going through stuff like this, to help them, to let them know there is no shame and to talk to someone because you never know what can happen in your life.

"One day you can be successful and one day you can become no-one and life can turn like this (clicks fingers) and switch on like this and switch off like this. "That's what happens and that's what happened to me and I just didn't see anything coming.

"It was important for me to give this message and obviously even more to help people, if it happens in their life, and let them know there's no shame to go and talk to someone."