Live

Highlights on Off The Ball

02:00 PM-05:00 PM

Highlights on Off The Ball

Football

Shane Carthy on mental health recovery | 'It wasn't like Shutter Island'

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

20:02 11 Feb 2021

Dublin footballer Shane Carthy has spoken to Off The Ball about his mental health struggles and keeping the conversation in the national consciousness.

Carthy's experience with depression led him at one stage to consider suicide before a conversation with his family brought him into a therapeutic setting.

Carthy says that he was presenting a stable public face to family and friends but hiding the inner turmoil of a mind out of kilter.

Shane Carthy

"When we look back at it, we look back it in such a positive way that - at the time it was so difficult for them - but they are so glad that it happened.

"Any loving mother, parent, or sister so deeply want to help you - but my mam finding me in a flood of tears on the morning of a Leinster final was a blessing in disguise.

"The way I was going in my head, it was not a path I wanted to go down."

Shane Carthy reiterates that there was little his family could do in a mental health crisis, bar keeping watch and contact the right health professionals.

Football also became an outlet for Carthy, to the point where its importance and therapeutic qualities became overblown in his own mind.

"I thrived within [football] from the sporting context, I really love the pressure that an inter-county football panel brings.

"When I was out there, particularly on the night of that under-21s Leinster final, I never wanted that whistle to go when I was on that pitch that night.

"I pounded every blade of grass for 60 minutes and I just wanted it to go on forever. That was my safe haven because as soon as I stepped back over that line, into the dressing room, and into the turmoil - those were the dark days I feared most.

"I was clinging on towards the end."

St Patrick's Hospital

Thankfully, help was at hand. Shane was admitted to St Patrick's hospital, with trained professionals and a place of solace.

He spoke about the stereotypical connotations of being admitted to such a facility, and how he was pleasantly surprised.

"My perception of it at the beginning was like my favourite film, Shutter Island. Of a dark grey room with people in straitjackets. That was the perception I had of a mental institution and it absolutely wasn't the case.

"My perception of a mental hospital changed within a couple of hours of being there. But I won't shy away - it is a difficult place. There is an awful lot of dark days.

"The thing was that the conversation around mental health was like the conversation of talking about the weather. I'll never forget speaking to patients who would ask me what I was in for. I was thinking 'Is he allowed to ask me this?!'

"It was such a natural conversation from his end, and I had to try and become accustomed to the conversation. Thereafter, coming out of St Pat's, I'm trying to get this conversation as natural as it was in that institution in the outside world."

Toolbox

With recovery an ongoing process, how is he feeling now?

"At the present moment in time, I am in a really good place. I still have my bad days - I was extremely apprehensive with the release of the book because I put my life out there. I put my head above water and it is an intimidating process.

"But what has come back has been absolutely incredible. I have been blown away. I do still have bad days but I have tools and resources to help me cope better."

What is in this 'mental toolbox'?

"I like that visual, of my tools in the toolbox. Physical exercise is number one, which probably comes as no surprise. It got me out of the worst two years of my life and it still gets me out of ruts today.

"Number two is a playlist of podcasts which takes me to a happier time with a friend or a family member.

"Number three is meeting up with a friend and saying 'I'm a bit stressed today, can I get something off my chest.'

"It is very individualistic, what works for me may not work for you. But it is about what works for you and putting it into that toolbox."

 If you’ve been affected by anything in this chat, or if you feel like you need help, or just someone to talk to, the Samaritans helpline operates 24 hours a day: they’re on: 116 123

Download the brand new OTB Sports App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.


Live: Title

Description

Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share

Next up in queue

Title
Description
Duration

There are currently no podcasts in the queue

Go to podcasts

On Air

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

02:00 PM-05:00 PM

Share

Up next

LIVE: Monday Night Rugby

LIVE: Monday Night Rugby

05:00 PM-06:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

06:00 PM-07:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Newsround

LIVE: Newsround

07:00 PM-07:30 PM

Share

LIVE: Off The Ball

LIVE: Off The Ball

07:30 PM-08:00 PM

Share

LIVE: Monday Night Rugby

LIVE: Monday Night Rugby

08:00 PM-09:00 PM

Share

LIVE: The Football Show

LIVE: The Football Show

09:00 PM-10:00 PM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

10:00 PM-12:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

12:00 AM-02:00 AM

Share

Repeat: Off The Ball

Repeat: Off The Ball

02:00 AM-05:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

05:00 AM-07:00 AM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

07:00 AM-07:30 AM

Share

LIVE: OTB AM

LIVE: OTB AM

07:30 AM-10:00 AM

Share

Repeat: OTB AM

Repeat: OTB AM

10:00 AM-12:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

12:00 PM-01:00 PM

Share

OTB Gold

OTB Gold

01:00 PM-02:00 PM

Share

Highlights on Off The Ball

Highlights on Off The Ball

02:00 PM-06:00 PM

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on