'I remember ringing him and he said, 'I'm in darkness in the room. I can't get out of bed''

Diarmuid Lyng’s struggle with his mental health features in his upcoming Laochra Gael episode.

Diarmuid Lyng speaking on his Laochra Gael.
Diarmuid Lyng speaking on his Laochra Gael.
Image: TG4/Nameton

Updated at 20.11

FORMER WEXFORD STAR Diarmuid Lyng opens up about his struggle with mental health in his upcoming Laochra Gael episode.

Lyng’s programme is a fascinating watch that documents his impressive hurling career, as well as his battle with illness, and his own personal journey of self-discovery.

Lyng, who was a versatile player for Wexford, called time on his inter-county career in 2013. He had previously returned to the senior panel after taking time out to travel the world.

But after deciding it was time to step away, Lyng struggled to adjust to retirement.

“Now that I was no longer a player, I didn’t know who I was,”

Lyng’s former Wexford team-mate Eoin Quigley also features in this Laochra Gael episode. He talks about their friendship and describes a funny story about Lyng bringing a friend who was training to be a monk to his wedding.

But he also talks about the concerns he had for his friend’s mental health during those early stages of his retirement. 

“I suppose after the hurling was finished, he would have been living in Dublin for a while.

I remember ringing him up one evening and asking, ‘how are you keeping?’ He said, ‘I’m just in darkness here in the room. I can’t get out of bed. I’ve been in darkness for two days and I’m not eating.’

“I went up to visit him in that house and I could see there was something wrong.”

Speaking about his time in Dublin, Lyng said he was invited to come on board with Newstalk’s Off the Ball show which he saw as a “great opportunity.”

Quigley adds that the pair fell out of contact during that period.

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“I think he really struggled in Dublin,” he says.

“I was concerned for him then. We probably had lost touch a little bit. I tried to speak to him as often as I could and maybe I could have been there a bit more for him. 

“I remember ringing him and he said ‘I’m just in darkness up here in the room. I can’t get out of bed, my body just won’t let me.’

“I was glad to see him get out of Dublin, I think he needed a break from that life.”

Lyng always enjoyed taking trips to Kerry as a youngster, and he decided to relocate there after leaving Dublin. He still lives in the Kingdom along with his partner Siobhán and son Uisne.

I just needed to take that step and get away from the city to a more natural rhythm of life. I made the decision to come down here. I just wanted to sit here alone, sit here with my struggle.

“I suppose I made a decision to embrace the darkness as well. I didn’t realise how dark things would get.”

Diarmuid Lyng’s Laochra Gael airs on Thursday 12 March on TG4 at 9.30pm

Originally published at 0700

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