Ex-England international Alex Scott has opened up on how social media abuse made her turn to alcohol since her retirement from football.
Scott is now a respected pundit on both the BBC and Sky Sports and has appeared on Strictly Come Dancing following an esteemed playing career for both Arsenal and her country.
But in conversation with Watford captain Troy Deeney as part of the Heads Up campaign focusing on mental health, the 35-year-old revealed the extent to which the online ‘trolling’ affected her.
‘When I retired, getting trolled, I found that I was turning to drink to try and hide everything, hide what I was feeling,’ she said.
‘I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t tell my mum because I didn’t want her to worry or put that stress on her. I was just that person (who thought) “I can look after myself, I can deal with stuff” but obviously sometimes that’s the wrong way.
‘I got to a dark place and it was over Christmas, that’s when I was like “I can’t carry on like this, it’s not me, I need to seek help” and that led me into therapy.
‘I want to take that stigma away from it. Now when I talk about mental health, straight away I’m smiling because I know what it’s done for me to leave that place. I’m content.
‘I’m happy, and I’ve used the tools that I’ve learned to be in that place.’
Deeney, meanwhile, admits he also turned to drink and has received therapy to combat his sleeping problems.
‘I understood that when I started speaking I slept easier,’ he added.
‘I used to live on four hours’ sleep. When I have a therapy session I’ll sleep for 10 hours, because I’m knackered, but it’s all the weight coming out of me.’
The conversation between Scott and Deeney is the latest in a series of videos as part of the initiative’s #SoundofSupport campaign, which concludes with the ‘Heads Up FA Cup final’ at Wembley on Saturday between Arsenal and Chelsea.
Jurgen Klopp, Andy Robertson, Jesse Lingard, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Farrell are just a few of the names from the world of sport to speak up this week.