SHANE Carthy has praised the response of his team mates to his recent battle with depression.
Carthy, a Dublin senior whilst still a secondary school student, withdrew from the Dublin Under 21 and senior panels after last year's Under 21 Leinster final victory over Meath.
The Naomh Mearnóg man suffered a panic attack in training prior to the All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Cavan and just recently spoke out publicly on RTÉ radio about eroding the stigma around metal health.
"It is slowly breaking down but people are fighting to talk about mental health," Carthy explained.
"I'd like to think I'd help along the way to break down that stigma and the lads have been absolutely fantastic. Just small things like a pat on the back or saying 'great to see you are back', very mature."
Carthy plays for Ross Munnelly's DCU Freshers team today, having commenced a degree in Sports Science last autumn and was both a frequent presence in the Dublin midfield in their successful O'Byrne Cup campaign and a starter last Sunday in Cork for Jim Gavin's maiden League selection of 2015.
He is also available to Dessie Farrell for Dublin's defence of the All-Ireland Under 21 crown and says the resumption of his football career has aided in his recovery somewhat.
"Definitely for me, a big thing would be structure for my day," Carthy outlined.
"Not only for the metal side, but the physical side as well. I find when I do have some sort of structure, college, training and everything.
"Everything seems to got that bit smoother.
"I've less time on my own to be thinking to myself and especially being around the lads, it kind of gives you that little gee-up. It's great to be amongst them."
"I think the team sense, people can relate to what you're going through, especially in football.
"Everyone goes through near enough the same thing, they can relate to stuff in every day life and you can talk about how they cope with it their way and you can maybe put your own spin on it.
"It's just that constant communication between yourself and management and players and how they deal with, whether it's work, college, training itself, everything and every day life."
Carthy explained how programmes, such as the GPA's 'We Wear More' campaign and the had helped in educating people's perception of depression and other mental health issues, citing the examples of Cavan goalkeeper Alan O'Mara and former Cork hurler, Conor Cusack as pioneers in that regard.
"Things like the 'Play in my Boots' and 'Walk in my Shoes' from the Gaelic side of things coming from the GPA have been a massive help to not only sporting people, but people in everyday life to come out and talk if they're having difficulties," he said.
"The likes of Alan O'Mara and Conor Cusack are helping because like it or not, they're icons to people around the country and only good can come from that.
"Literally," Carthy continued," from when I got out of bed, it was constantly putting up that mask and it was very daunting every single day getting up and having to say 'I'm okay' and 'everything's fine'.
"But really, inside - when I had a few moments to myself - I was really crumbling and breaking down.
"I don't know how I went through it for a couple of years but it got harder and harder as the thoughts got worse.
"I'm glad I spoke up and dealt with it and to be honest, now I wish I had done it earlier because I'm along the recovery path and am nearly out the other side.
"I'm not all the way there," added Carthy, who is likely to be involved in Gavin's squad for Saturday night's visit of Donegal to Croke Park in round two of the Allianz League.
"But I'd like to think I'm in a much better place than this time last year, for example."