A great childhood left Western Bulldogs premiership star Tom Boyd struggling to fight his mental health once he got drafted.
In July, Boyd was named as the face of a headspace campaign after his battle with depression and anxiety became known to the public.
Boyd has thanked club psychologist Lisa Stevens for helping him get through the most challenging period of his life.
Despite playing an starring role in the Bulldogs historic 2016 Grand Final win, Boyd was still suffering and seeking help with his mental health.
He took time out of the game to get help with the mental demons he was facing.
“I think a lack of challenging circumstances in my childhood, growing up in a good family, good school, good at sport, tall, led me to have a lack of things that require mental resilience as a child,” Boyd told the Bulldogs’ Freedom in a Cage podcast.
“Going from that straight into everything that requires mental resilience – I had no skills, I thought I did, and I had very little self-awareness.
“I think the inertia of my life going well, I felt like it was going to keep happening.
“I think that whole attitude and lack of resilience I had was a key contributing factor in my downhill slope and particularly when I accepted more and more responsibility.”
Boyd barely slept for six weeks as it affected his performance at training when he experienced insomnia at his most severe point.
“It’s a strange sort of cycle you get caught in because you get up tired and then you struggle throughout the day.
“There were points where it’d take me an hour to do gym because I’d walk to my sheet, think about the exercise I was doing and by the time I’d get back, I’d forget it.
“You get into this weird sort of zombie state where everything’s the same and that was the worst part.”
He never felt embarrassed to open up, Boyd was only hoping of helping others as he felt obliged to do so.
Compared to 20 years ago when players were told to eat cement and harden up, Boyd feels more professional athletes could tell their stories or issues.
“The actual story, particularly of current players and their struggles has been very minimal in that area,” Boyd said.
“We do have a responsibility to share our stories in some regards.”