Mitch Morton

Mitch Morton (left) achieved every footballers dream, while living through his toughest battle of all off the field. (Picture: Sydney Swans)

On the Bloods of Old, Swans premiership player Mitch Morton spoke candidly about a battle of another kind - anxiety, and where it lead him to today.

On the Bloods of Old podcast, Swans premiership player Mitch Morton spoke candidly about a battle of another kind: a battle with anxiety, and how it led him to where he is today.

Mitch Morton was a journeyman of the highest order, playing 83 games in his AFL career for three different clubs.

His career peaked with an amazing effort in the 2012 grand final when he kicked two crucial goals on the way to the Sydney Swans’ fifth premiership.

But Morton was dealing with such severe anxiety that he was deciding whether to even take to the field on that day in 2012.

“I seriously considered saying I was unavailable, that’s how bad my anxiety was,” Morton said on Bloods of Old.

In his own words, Morton had struggled with anxiety since the age of seven. When he was drafted to the West Coast Eagles in 2004 aged 17, he had been dealing with anxiety for a decade.

And being drafted to such a successful Eagles club left him with even more pressure and fear of making a mistake or failing, though he wasn’t aware of it at the time.

“I was, but I wasn’t aware of what I was doing. I didn’t know what I know about anxiety now back then,” he said.

“Back then, I started to feel different, I started to isolate myself. I was seven when I started having these issues, and they slowly got worse and worse.

“By the time I was 17, 18, they were quite debilitating, but that was normal to me, I didn’t know any other life.

“As soon as that [sport and football] became my job, everything just fell apart. My first day of training was just a horrific day.”

The impact of Morton’s anxiety flowed on to his two younger brothers, Jarryd and Cale Morton, who had their own AFL careers.

Morton said that when he was in a bad place, his younger brothers felt it too, having someone they looked up to going through their lowest moment.

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“I really felt for my brothers, it’s hard having your older brother who was really good at sport, then go through what I went through, I think it took its toll on them,” he said.

“I really think it was difficult for them to go on and have a really really good football career after mine sort of stagnated.

“They looked up to me so much and I fell apart and I was their rock. That’s hard for siblings to kind of watch that happen. They did their best, and that’s great, but looking back it would have been nice if I could have been a better support to them.”

After 15 years of struggling with anxiety, Morton made a decision that changed his life forever.

“Two and a half years ago was kind of when I hit a really really low point.

“It had been building up for a very very long time and it had hit a low point. And I decided to give my anxiety one last opportunity, to fix it and try and come up with my own solution.

“And that just started this unbelievable journey that I’ve been on for the last two and a half years.”

Over the past two and a half years, Morton has become an entrepreneur, with his own Mental Health events company, Mr. Anxiety.

Morton spoke about his new life as an entrepreneur and living free from anxiety.

“Not only have I been able to fix my own anxiety, but now I’m helping other people, I never ever thought I’d be doing that. It’s been phenomenal.

“And personally, I’m in a really really good place, take each day as it comes, and just really enjoying being an entrepreneur and trying to get this Mr. Anxiety concept up and running, and at the same time just enjoying life without anxiety.”

You can find Mitch Morton on Instagram at @mranxietyaus.

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14. RUOK? is a suicide prevention charity that aims to start life-changing conversations.

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