Aisling Thompson: You could have held a gun to my head and I wouldn’t have flinched

By John Fogarty
GAA Correspondent

Cork camogie star Ashling Thompson has spoken candidly about how difficult life was for her family as she battled depression.

In her Laochra Gael programme, to be aired on TG4 tonight, the Milford midfielder recalls how she struggled mentally after a serious car accident outside her home in 2009.

As she rehabbed from back and neck injuries, she became a tearaway. “When sport was no longer an option and I wasn’t the player and athlete that I used to be, then I started to crave that attention from a different light.

“People I hung around with and got involved with I never thought... I just wasn’t that type of person.

“I suppose that was the attraction. It was dangerous and it was what I felt was going to fill that void.

“I turned into a completely different person, extremely angry... I had a fuse the length of my toenail. It was serious.

“My mother was afraid of me, my own brother was afraid of me, and you just couldn’t control me, it went to that point.”

Thompson has talked about her suicidal thoughts before and felt an onus to open up on the issue.

Some regrets remain, however.

It’s something I have to live with for the rest of my life, decisions that I made, and mistakes that I made, and the road and path that I went down.

"It’s something that scars me and I’ll have in the back of my mind for the rest of my life.

“I am just that one number that did come out of the right side of it. The majority don’t.

"I know how hard it was to get over that period to the point where it could have killed me, and very nearly did, and that was down to having no support system.”

The 26-year-old described the elation when she felt her old self returning.

“The one thing I will never forget, like, bouncing back is being able to feel emotion again. I remember when I was going through that tough time, I had absolutely no feelings whatsoever.

You could have held a gun to my head and I wouldn’t have flinched, wouldn’t have even blinked, and I actually even remember crying and feeling that emotion when I did to come back to myself, I remember appreciating it so much.

“It was probably at training when I lost my temper but I will never forget the moment I felt emotion again. It was such a good feeling. I was crying but I was so happy I could feel the emotion.”

Ashling Thompson’s Laochra Gael will be televised on TG4 at 9.30pm today

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