Keith Earls Opens About His Struggles In Incredible Honest & Open Rare Interview
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Munster and Ireland winger Keith Earls was the talk of Irish television last night following an incredibly honest and open interview last night on the Late Late Show.
The Limerick man rarely does media work but decided to come out last night ahead of the release of his new book ‘Fight Or Flight: My Life, My Choices,’ to reveal his Bipolar 2 diagnosis and the battles he has gone through with his mental health since a young child.
He revealed a voice in his head who he has named ‘Hank’ that has tormented him throughout his life and how he eventually had enough and sought help from the IRFU in a bid to get his life back on track.
The Moyross native suffered a panic attack after the death of his 19-year-old cousin in a car accident when he was 12, but it took him a lot longer to seek help.
“I was sitting at home on the couch and my parents were at work and I remember thinking ‘I wasn’t going to see my cousin ever again’, and then it just went downhill from there, I was thinking about when I die, I will never see my parents,” Earls said on the Late Late Show.
“I was shaking, I was trembling and then the panic attack started. I didn’t know what it was. I genuinely, genuinely thought I was going to die. I came around after a few minutes.
“I kept it all quiet, didn’t really speak about it. I suppose the fact I didn’t know what it was, I was a small bit embarrassed, maybe. I have had a couple of them out through my career as well and it did take me a long time to talk about stuff.
“It was never mentioned in my house, never mind the country or Limerick, it wasn’t a thing that was spoken about back then.”
It was 2013 when Earls finally had enough.
“I was in camp in 2013. I am in Irish camp, Joe Schmidt is just taking over the Irish team. I should be on cloud nine,” Earls continued.
“My daughter, Ella Maye, my first girl, was born in 2012 and she was born with a respiratory condition, and you know my emotions were everywhere. My paranoia was through the roof. My negative thinking, it was shocking, and you know I was so sick of it. It was absolutely draining me.
“So, here I am in Carton House, in Irish camp and I just decided I need to do something about this. So, I rang the doctor… I explained everything to him, he was brilliant. I went down to see a guy in Cork, a psychiatrist, and he diagnosed me with bipolar II. There is obviously bipolar I as well, but bipolar II is probably the better out of the two to get. I was delighted to get the diagnosis; I was genuinely losing my mind.”
“Thankfully over the last couple of years, I have got a great hold on it. I have found my identity. Which I think was part of the problem as well. I didn’t know who I was, and I was always trying to be other people. I didn’t know when I was Keith, I didn’t know when I was Hank (the name he gives to his depressive side). And thankfully I can tell the difference now.
“I wanted to tell my story because…if I can help anyone, even it was in the general public, any one of my teammates to talk to someone before it gets too late. I think that’s what saved me, stepping up and not being embarrassed and speaking to someone and telling someone that I was struggling.”
"Thankfully the last couple of years I've got a great hold on it"@KeithEarls87 shares his story of being diagnosed with Bipolar 2, the negative voice in his head he calls 'Hank', and how he reached out and asked for help.#LateLate pic.twitter.com/2E4VcAW9Lr
— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) October 15, 2021