Following a number of poor showings at the 2015 World Cup, Earls sought professional help after the tournament, the diagnosis was a form of Bipolar.
Just a few weeks ago Keith Earls earned his 100th Irish cap, and even scored a try on the day to mark the big day. But the Moyross man admits that he would not have been able to get there had he not looked for help a number of years ago.
Earls, who is Ireland’s leading World Cup try scorer, revealed that he didn’t enjoy the start of his Ireland career, not knowing how to deal with pressure.
Breaking into the set up shortly after finishing school, Earls was catapulted into the limelight making his Ireland debut and then being selected for the Lions tour.
Speaking about the early part of his international career, Earls revealed in an intimate interview with ITV,
“I’ve only really enjoyed my career from my 50th cap on, the pressure, the lows back then, just didn’t enjoy it.”
“When teams start figuring you out, and the pressure piles on, I struggled to deal with that, and went down a big rabbit hole of negative thinking.”
“I didn’t want to play anymore, semi-finals, finals, even World Cups, I’d have massive highs and lows which I didn’t know how to handle.”
Following a number of poor showings at the 2015 World Cup, Earls sought professional help after the tournament. The diagnosis was a form of Bipolar.
Earls was put on medication, as well as a number of wellness tasks, such as visualisation and meditation.
His performances improved, and he slowly got back to the player he knew he was.
“The diagnosis was a form of Bipolar, I spent every minute of every day trying to figure out how I could deal with it.”
“This is pure relief the Grand Slam in 2018, my mental health, I had no anxiety leading into this game, I can finally bring my girls around the pitch with a trophy which I had promised them for years.”
The Limerick native joins a small group that have reached the 100 cap landmark for Ireland, and he claims he wouldn’t have made it had he not recived the diagnosis when he did.
Having the bravery to seek help when he did changed Earls’ career trajectory and allowed for the magnificent moment he crashed over for a try on his landmark day.
“I haven’t told anyone but I’ve been medication free for over a year now, incredible from where I was. You still get poor days but I’ve went to lengths to figure myself out which I’m very content with now.”
“I don’t think I’d be here today (if he hadn’t had the diagnosis.) My 100th cap, all week I spent time visualising the try and doing interviews after the game and walking the kids out, it was scary.”
Earls started the first game of Ireland’s 2023 World Cup campaign, and looks set to be an important player throughout the tournament. Andy Farrell’s side face South Africa next with the defending champions the first acid test that the #1 team will face in France.