ALEX SCOTT has bravely opened up on her struggles with mental health, revealing she has been "putting on an act" for her entire life.
The 37-year-old is the fourth most-capped woman to play for England, doing so 140 times between 2004 and 2017.
Since hanging up her boots Scott has successfully gone into punditry and TV presenting, and was the face of the BBC's coverage of the 2020 Olympics alongside Clare Balding.
But the former right-back has admitted she has been battling with her mental health.
Scott revealed she turned to drink in the past to try and cope, but now just wants to live her life with "freedom".
The ex-Arsenal defender, who was awarded an MBE in 2017 for her services to football, made the admission while promoting her book 'How (Not) To Be Strong' with Time Out.
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Scott said: "I’ve lived my whole life putting on an act, and there's a lot of things in it that people will have no idea that I went through.
"I'm at a stage in my life where I just want some freedom, and I've managed to feel like it's a time where I can [be open.]
"I think everyone will be shocked at the stories in the book."
Scott previously opened up about her struggles with alcohol, which she turned to after being targeted by vile trolls following her retirement.
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She told told Women's Health in 2021: "When I retired, getting trolled, I found that I was turning to drink to try and hide everything, hide what I was feeling.
"Looking at my daily life, many would wonder how I could be ‘depressed’. But mental illness doesn’t work like that.
"It’s so easy to think there are people worse off than us and we have no right to feel sorry for ourselves. But that thought process alone can be really dangerous, and lead to bigger problems."
And Scott admitted she kept her battles secret, continuing: "I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t tell my mum because I didn’t want her to worry or put that stress on her.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.
"I was just that person [who thought] ‘I can look after myself, I can deal with stuff’ but obviously sometimes that’s the wrong way."
Former England ace Scott said seeking help through a therapist has been "enlightening" and she never wants to stop attending therapy.
She said: "Going to therapy was absolutely the most enlightening thing I’ve ever done in my life. I love it. I will never stop."
Scott also discussed the possibility of freezing her eggs, but said she is not putting pressure on herself to do so as she is currently "loving life".
On the topic, Scott revealed: "It’s still something I go back and forth with.
"Sometimes, my friends put pressure on me: ‘Alex, you’re not getting any younger, you need to do this.’ But right now, I’m loving life – so why add pressure on myself because other people are saying it’s time now to freeze your eggs?"
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"With a woman’s decision to get her eggs frozen – you do it for you, forward- planning, why be ashamed of that?
"On my days off, all I want to do is hang out with my girlfriends, go out to a theatre show, listen to music, or have a couple of wines. I’m not going to apologise for being single."
Contact the Samaritans
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, contact The Samaritans on 116 123.
They are available for free at anytime.
Or email https://www.samaritans.org/
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