Irish rugby star Keith Earls has won praise for opening up about his bipolar diagnosis on The Late Late Show.
The 34-year-old, who plays for Ireland and Munster, candidly spoke about his mental health struggles as he promoted his new book ‘Fight Or Flight: My Life, My Choices’.
During his chat with Ryan Tubridy, the sports star revealed he was diagnosed with bipolar II after he decided to seek help eight years ago.
Keith recalled: “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.”
“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…”
“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
“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.”
View this post on Instagram
Since his diagnosis, Keith has learned how to manage his depressive side, which he’s nicknamed Hank.
“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,” he explained.
“I didn’t know when I was Keith, I didn’t know when I was Hank, and thankfully I can tell the difference now.”
View this post on Instagram
“I wanted to tell my story because… if I can help anyone, even it was in the general public, any one of my team-mates 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.”
It’s safe to say viewers were blown away by Keith’s interview, and many took to Twitter to praise him for being so open and honest.
Always admired Keith Earls, very much his own man and never seemed fussed about the fame or trappings. He’s even more interesting after tonight. An unassuming gent #LateLateShow
— Áine Fitzgerald (@AineFitzgeraldA) October 15, 2021
I can’t remember a time I didn’t love Keith Earls. (Obviously) Tonight my admiration for him knows no bounds. Such a brave interview from such a private soul. I’m blown away. #EarlsieIsTheMan
— Niamh ☕️ (@NiamhoNiamh) October 15, 2021
Keith Earls a legend on and off the pitch. Massive respect to him for helping to try break the taboo of talking about mental health in life and in sport too. I believe his openness will seriously help a lot of people. #LateLateShow
— Seán (@drunktastic) October 15, 2021
Keith Earls with a mic drop interview on the #LateLateShow 🏉
A very powerful story that will have a ripple effect. Hard enough play against an opposition but to play against a voice in your head at the same time… Incredible. Such honesty. Should’ve been 1st up in the show.
— Jack O’Connor (@JackOConnor_) October 15, 2021
Great honesty and openness by Keith Earls on late late – what a player and then hearing what he has been through and achieve what he did –@keithearls
— Tomas Mulcahy (@tomas_mulcahy) October 15, 2021
Keith Earls on @RTEOne @RTELateLateShow What a brave man, showing that the stigma around BiPolar 1 & 2 – and even telling the difference between them – is misplaced! An example as a person as well as a sports superstar 💚❤️ pic.twitter.com/8WRWXtqf6g
— Chris Hoey (@ChrisHoey) October 15, 2021