Collingwood premiership hero Brayden Maynard has revealed for the first time he has been battling obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
OCD forces sufferers into a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears, as well as making those affected have an overwhelming desire to do things over and over.
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Maynard, 27, was first diagnosed with the disorder in 2017, but has kept the condition a secret outside of his close circle and his teammates and club officials.
Speaking on the Keegan and Company Podcast, Maynard was shaking at times as he revealed the “dark times” over the past six years.
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“My issue was since 2017 I’ve been going through some really hard times. I was diagnosed with OCD and the struggle that has come along with it has been so so difficult, even to this day I still deal with it,” he said.
“Talking about it now it’s pretty confronting … I’ve got the shakes a little bit but I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to come on here and talk about it for the first time — other than in front of my teammates and club — in a public sort of space because I do feel comfortable.
“Going through that was really really tough and like I said I’m still going through it.”
Brayden Maynard opens up on his OCD. Credit: YouTube
Maynard said his “checking” in the first couple of years were really bad and his anxiety levels would heighten as a result.
“I was able to get on top of it and put plans in place for if I do go through these situations and through these thoughts that maybe the back door isn’t locked but even though I’ve just been standing at the back door and locked it for some reason in my mind I just thought it wasn’t locked,” he explained.
“So then you’d go back and it was like you were having this staring competition with the back door like figuring out whether was locked or not but it’s locked but that’s just the constant struggle that you go through.
“And mine always was triggered and came to play at night before bed, knowing that I had to get a good sleep really f***ed me around and was really frustrating with me and then when my anxiety sort of lifted that’s when my OCD came into play and it was a lot of checking.”
Maynard has triggers in place now to deal with the issue, but at its worst the star defender would turn up to training and games with no sleep.
“It did affect me negatively, I had to sort of go into training and play games with no sleep because that’s how much it would affect me. I’d be up all night checking,” he said,
“I look at it and it’s not stupid stuff but it’s just stuff that you think why am I doing this … that’s why I’m so thankful and grateful to have all these plans in place now so if I do go through this sort of checking phase it’s just squashed immediately because I know what to do when it comes on.
“Early days when I didn’t understand it and didn’t have plans in place, I would I’d be staying up all night, no sleep, rolling into training tired and then be totally stuffed from training so that that wore me down.
“I got through it, but it was really dark times.”
Brayden Maynard celebrates with the premiership cup after Collingwood defeated Brisbane in an epic grand final. Credit: Getty Images
Aside from the obvious tools like getting off social media and his phone before bed, Maynard also credited cold water therapy for helping him through.
“I love cold water therapy but at night my big thing was sort of getting off my phone not having my brain activated before going to bed,” he said.
“And if I did have anything to sort of think about, I would write it down. But it was tough.
“It’s not simple … you can put plans in place but it over time like gradually you get better at it’s not just gonna to finish overnight.”
Maynard shared his story publicly for the first time in the hope of helping others.
“I’m still dealing with it and I’m happy to talk about it but it’s just a lot easier for me to deal with now and I’m not affected by it as much as I used to,” he said.
“It’s been a wild ride but I guess it sort of comes in a positive way as well, like with my football I love what I do and to be able to sort of battle with OCD to be able to talk about it, I really appreciate it.”