Growing up, Shane Carthy was the "golden boy" in his family, the only boy, doted on by three older sisters. His golden streak continued into his early adulthood, when, aged 18, he walked out onto the pitch in Croke Park with the Dublin senior football team for the 2013 All-Ireland football final.

But, as Shane told Ryan on Tuesday, while everything might have seemed to be going extremely well for the young footballer, inside he was struggling. He describes his depression as something that came on gradually until it got to the point where he couldn't ignore it. 

"It was only a year and a half in, though my journey what I didn’t know was depression, that, you know, alarm bells started ringing and thinking, 'I need to speak up here’, because the fact of the matter was, it was getting so much worse, that a week after the All-Ireland final was the first time I had thoughts of dying by suicide." 

We need your consent to load this Instagram contentWe use Instagram to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Shane told Ryan that he couldn't make sense of what was going on in his head and how he got to the point that he didn’t want to be a part of the world. How did he turn away from the suicidal thoughts? Ryan asked. For Shane, exercise was key. 

"I shied away from it. It was something that, you know, for the year and a half previous, something that got me away from it and my crutch, my medication, was physical exercise." 

So, Shane concludes, he was essentially running away from the dark thoughts in his head. But he soon found himself being unable to hide the cracks appearing in his life. He’d sit in the car crying and arrive into work with bloodshot eyes. Ryan asked him why he was crying, what was it for, what was it about. 

"It was the frustration. It was because my life was going on an upward, to everyone from the outside looking in, I was thinking, ‘Why can’t I share the joy that they’re sharing with my life?’ And keep on harping on from the fact that I want no part of this world, and yet, everything is going right, but little do people know." 

Shane describes himself as going around with "negative emotion after negative emotion" and his frustration in trying to square that with his outwardly successful life and career and not knowing where to turn for answers.

We need your consent to load this Instagram contentWe use Instagram to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

The private crying sessions didn’t stay private for too long and one Wednesday, the day of the Under-21 Leinster Championship Final, Shane’s mother came into the sitting room to find her son sitting on the couch crying. 

"When you’re going through such a difficult time, in times of adversity, it’s the smallest gestures, the smallest things that mean the most to you. And it was simply my mam had sat beside me and she put her hand around my shoulder." 

Following a two-hour cliff walk with his sister Mairéad, Shane – although he had planned to ring his manager Dessie Farrell and say he couldn’t make the game – went ahead and played the match. And it was a memorable game for him: 

"When I went out there and to this day, Ryan, I would say, it was the most satisfying – still to this day – the most satisfying 60 minutes of football I’ve ever played in my life. And I remember, I think we were, if I’m right in saying, about four or five points up, a couple of minutes to go and I was looking at the ref, like, ‘Don’t blow that whistle’." 

It was a man of the match performance – not bad for a man who’d been crying in his mother’s sitting room twelve hours beforehand. But Shane had to go through plenty more lows before he could get his life back on track.

You can hear Ryan’s full conversation with Shane Carthy, including how Shane blacked out on the way back from training and woke up in St Patrick’s Mental Hospital, and what he carries in his mental health toolbox, by going here

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can contact; The Samaritans (phone 116123), or Pieta House (1800247247).