Michael Keane: “I didn’t want to go out, didn’t want to see anyone.
“I felt a bit embarrassed with how things were going on the pitch so I didn’t want to be seen anywhere, didn’t want to do anything.
“I was keeping it in for a long time, working hard, turning things around on the football pitch but in the end it sort of got on top of me.
“I ended up not having a full breakdown but I was basically in tears telling my family how I felt.
“That was a big breakthrough moment where I sort of got to my ‘rock bottom’. From there on I’ve got better and better with the help of my family and my friends and I started speaking to a sports psychologist which I still do now regularly to just keep on top of it.”
Michael Keane spoke about how through fear of letting his team down, he played through injuries with pain-killing injections which compounded his difficulties.
“At the time, I just wanted to be in there with my team-mates, we were going through a tough period,” Keane said.
“I didn’t want to be seen to be throwing the towel in even though I had a valid injury, I just wanted to get out there, give it my best and try to turn things around; in hindsight it wasn’t probably the best thing to do.
“I think the main thing is learning from it and after that learning about my own mental health and how I can deal with that going forward.”
“I think it’s hard when you’ve never done it before, so pride might stop you from doing it, you might think if you speak out you’ll be showing a soft side,” added Keane. “It’s completely normal and completely fine to do that and once you do it once you’ll realise yourself a lot of people do keep it in.
“I’d urge them if they are struggling really badly to speak to someone because I know from personal experience now how that helped me.”
Keane also spoke about how difficult the break from football has been, and how desperate he was to get back to football.
“It has been difficult, you’re used to being around your team-mates every day – 20-30 lads who become good friends,” he said. “When that stops for eight weeks, it does become difficult.
“You do what you can to keep in touch but we’re just desperate to get back.
“We’ve been back now for two days, even though it’s in small groups of around four and five. It’s just great to be back around them and see how they’re getting on.
“The night before we were first back a few days ago, I was so excited it felt like Christmas Eve. I was getting all my kit set out ready to go in the morning.”