Jade North has opened about his devastating battle with depression and the huge personal toll it had on his career.
The former Socceroo has had a stellar career despite his illness, winning 41 caps for the Socceroos and becoming the first Indigenous Australian captain, in addition to making almost 300 A-League appearances.
All the while facing a challenge many people could barely imagine.
“I was diagnosed with depression, I had this sickening feeling,” North told BBC World Football.
“I used to wake up in the morning and I physically felt sick. I had anxiety and depression and it was like a vicious circle.
“I remember to this day when I held a trophy over my head at Newcastle, it should have been one of the happiest days of my career but I went back into the change rooms, everyone was celebrating, running and jumping around and I was sitting in the corner with my head down.
“I should have been enjoying that moment, and I wasn’t. Not because I didn’t want it, I wanted to feel like everybody else. But depression, and being on medication, just wouldn’t let me be who I wanted to be.”
North first publically revealed his battle with mental illness in 2014, after working tirelessly with his former Newcastle doctor, Neil Halpin. He gave an insight into the intense struggle involved in his daily routine.
“I used to sit in the shower every day with the hot water going for about half an hour, just sit in the bottom of the shower because that would make me feel good, and then I’d have this sick feeling coming on and that would help me try and get through the day,” North said.
“All I would want to do is be in a dark room away from everyone. I couldn’t be around people, I couldn’t be in shopping centres, crowded areas, it would just make me feel dizzy.
“It was horrible, it’s hard to explain, when I was talking to people it was hard to look them in the eyes because that concentration span.
“That actually applied to the football field, I remember playing as a right centre-back and the ball was on the other side, and I remember thinking about everything else that was happening inside the stadium apart from concentrating on that ball.”