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Rugby League Player Darius Boyd Reveals How He Beat Depression

There's light at the end of the tunnel.

10/06/2016 6:33 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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That's Boyd on the left.

Brisbane Broncos NRL star Darius Boyd is one of Australia's highest profile depression sufferers. He's also one of our best rugby league players, but the really inspirational story in this man's life is the way he's dealt with his affliction.

Boyd has made a video about how he sought help with depression and the steps he went through once he'd made that decision. It's forthright, touching, and above all, helpful.

This video is a promotion for an organisation called Ramsay Health Care, with whom Boyd re-signed as an ambassador on June 1. And there are few better people to tell the story of beating depression than Boyd, 28, who was one of Queensland's best players in the first State of Origin match this year

"[My depression] was really tough on the people closest to me," Boyd revealed in the video. "I know I needed to change and admitted myself to a health clinic. Two years on, life couldn't be better.

"I eventually went to a health clinic. I didn't know I had depression. I was just like 'I was struggling'."

The experience of not recognising depression is really common among all people, especially men, and especially professional sportsmen who live and work in a culture where it's difficult to express your inner struggles.

Eric Grothe Junior is another former rugby league player who battled the Black Dog but was slow to recognise the symptoms.

"I remember when it first started happening to me, I just thought I wouldn't fit in anywhere. It started kicking in around the age of 17 or 18. I knew something wasn't right to feel the way I did as often as I was," he told The Huffington Post Australia.

"I think back in the day it was considered uncool and not matey to talk about your emotions. But times have changed and it's more important than ever just to say something.

"I was a bit reluctant at first [to seek help] but then I realised how many people around me were going through the same thing.

"Against my will I went to a psychologist. I thought 'why would I tell a stranger and not my family?' but it was one of the best things I've ever done. These people have no preconceived notion of who you are.

"I also spoke to a close friend on a car trip and that was so important, just speaking."

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Grothe in 2009 on his way to the grand final with the Eels

Grothe is also a mental health ambassador. He fronts an intitiative called "Chat Laps", which is launching this week, in Men's Health Week. Supported by Nissan and beyondblue, it encourages men to talk about mental health issues while doing a lap in the car with a mate.

Worked for Eric Grothe, might just work for you. One in eight Australian men experience depression in their lifetime, and it's time we stopped bottling it up, fellas.

Like Grothe, Darius Boyd was also to reluctant to seek treatment. But when he did finally seek help, he said he learned three super simple things.

  • You're not alone.
  • You need a plan to practice good mental health on the outside
  • Be grateful and practice gratitude each and every day.

"The first few sessions, I didn't speak up, Boyd recalled of his time in therapy. But eventually I got the courage to talk and felt better for it."

We blokes often feel we need to be tough in traditional ways that involve strength or stoicism. We pride ourselves on not needing help. But sometimes, acknowledging you need help is the toughest thing of all.

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

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