When Lorcán McMullan was asked to appear in I'm Fine, he says he "went back and forth for months" on it.

The documentary series follows Lorcán, Ray Connellan, Conor O'Keeffe and Hugh Mulligan as they speak about their struggles with mental health, and came just as the ex Dublin hurler was coming to terms with his own struggles.

"I questioned, like, whether my story was impactful enough or whether it was even a story at all", he tells me over the phone.

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"I didn't have anything that I could point to, like depression. I had anxiety and panic attacks, but the crux of my story was that I just simply didn't think I was good enough, for relationships, for anything. It's nearly worse when you can't point to reason that you're just feeling bad."

What spurred him on was his understanding that mental health issues are "wide ranging and confusing". "It's so hard to know that you have even got things to work on, never mind going about making a start of working on them", he says.

He knows, because that was the case for him. "If I saw a show about mental health in the last few years and I heard people talking about depression or bereavement, I would have said, 'Oh, I don't have depression, so that's not for me.'"

Cut to 2020, in between lockdowns, the hurler – like many people – found himself with too much time and not enough distractions. During this time, he devoted himself to understanding where the difficulties lay in him.

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"The lockdowns were a blessing and a curse for me to be honest, because I had all this time to work on myself", he says. "I had to all this time to work on myself and basically catch up on the personal development that I had neglected for the previous like 25 years of my life."

"I think lockdown, for all of us, forced us to sit with ourselves. There was nothing to hide behind."

For McMullan, he hid behind sport, throwing himself into hurling and racking up impressive achievements before he even hit 25. But this kind of passionate and ambitious lifestyle is exactly what tripped him up when it came to mental health. "I would just hide behind achievements, to prove that I was good enough in life", he tells me.

"I use sport for the wrong reasons. There's a lot of healthy reasons and there's a lot of healthy things about sport. But I used it to cover up insecurities and prove that I was good enough. Insecurity is a great driver, it lights a huge fire under you. However, it's not sustainable, especially in elite sport."

"You have to be at the end of the day, content and happy in yourself in order to maintain the commitment over a long period of time."

Although high pressure, it was sport that gave him a support network once he did start opening up about the struggles he had. "When I took a step back and I said that I just wasn't looking after myself mentally, everyone within the sport that I was involved in. Reached out and told me that they had that they have felt the same", he says.

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For McMullan, vulnerability is everything when it comes to talking about mental health, and while it can be the most nerve-wracking part of asking for help, he believes it leads to better, stronger relationships.

"Once I learnt the strength and vulnerability and how that creates comfy relationships and strong relationships with those closest to you then I just walked into it, I just embraced being vulnerable because I knew that talking about these so-called embarrassing things about me, once I was able to discuss them in my life so much better."

As a young man in Ireland today, McMullan no doubt has it better than those in generations gone by when it comes to talking about their struggles and seeking help, but there is still a stigma surrounding men opening up, he says. "It can be destigmatised and normalised to a greater degree."

Even now, he has moments of feeling self-conscious of being as open as he was in I'm Fine. "I still have moments of thinking, 'what have I done? I've exposed myself'. But it's me, it's all of me."

"It's so tiring to put it on a disguise", he says. "Once you realise that you're enough in yourself and you get comfortable with who you are, then that's when life gets amazing. That's when the right people come in at the right time and the right opportunity start to appear."

I'm Fine is exclusively on RTÉ Player and is sponsored by Electric Ireland. Electric Ireland is proud to continue to shine a light on mental health through it's long-term partnership with Pieta and Darkness Into Light and now through the I'm Fine series. During the darkest of times, we're Brighter Together.

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