EVERTON star Bernard has bravely spoken out about his mental health problems – after speaking to a psychologist.
The Brazilian attacking midfielder has been suffering from anxiety attacks, which he has described as “scary”.
Speaking to the Evertontv website, Bernard lifted the lid on his battle.
And the 27-year-old Toffees star has admitted speaking up about his issues has helped him to progress and “evolve as a human being”.
But he also warned: “Also, how scary it is, as it’s so unexpected, you know?
“I’ve been having therapy for the past year, I see a psychologist.
“It’s not something I previously stigmatised, but I never thought I would require this type of treatment.
“But now I see how much I’ve evolved as a person, as a human being, how much this has helped me in my work.
“I’ve never publicly spoken to anyone about this… I think it would be good for this to be seen as a way of helping people to go to see a psychologist or psychiatrist.
“I had an anxiety attack a year ago, the psychologist really helped with this, the other professionals involved helped me a lot as well.
There were different symptoms, I had blurred vision, I’m a bit uncomfortable talking about it as it was a difficult situation, but I’m happy I’ve got through it
“There were different symptoms, I had blurred vision, I’m a bit uncomfortable talking about it as it was a difficult situation, but I’m happy I’ve got through it.
“I sought help as I genuinely needed it, but if I’d have only known how much this professional was going to help me, not just in relation to anxiety, with the attack that I had, but in all areas of my life [I would have asked for help sooner].”
“I’m stronger in all areas and have become a better person, more positive and more confident. “
The Everton in the Community scheme hosted a national Mental Health Awareness Day in October, when Bernard – who has three goals in 22 Premier League games this season – was guest speaker.
He believes anyone can experience mental health issues.
He said: “We’re all vulnerable to any type of situation, as we’re human like everyone else.
“In a lot of cases I see that people are resistant and don’t seek help… they don’t take medication that could help with the process.
“I was taken by surprise but I’ve always been a person who bottled everything up and kept everything that happens in my life to myself.
“The person I’ve opened up to about everything has been my psychologist and, a lot of the time, I feel embarrassed to talk about certain things.
“I heard a good description from the psychologist once, he takes the boxes and puts them in the right place, and his assistance to put the boxes in the right place helps us to rebuild who we really are.”
Bernard had no prior warning over his anxiety attack.
He said: “I think it’s only people who have been through such an attack who really understand the intensity, the way it manifests itself and how difficult it is.”
If you have mental health issues go to the CALM website and seek help.