"I felt it in myself. There was moments in games where I would get pains in my stomach. I think it was all the stress and everything.
"I just knew I couldn't carry on. I knew I had to step away and take that break.
"I do think more players need to feel not like it's a bad thing to feel the way they feel."
Athletes face spells on the sidelines with physical injuries all the time. It's part and parcel of any sport.
But to take a step back to look after your mental health? That's a brave move that many athletes would try to suppress.
However, Northern Ireland defender Rebecca Holloway knew it was something she had to do.
In an interview for BBC Sport with her partner Lucy Quinn, who plays for the Republic of Ireland and will face off against Holloway at Windsor Park on Tuesday, the 28-year-old opened up about her mental struggles.
The pair met at Birmingham City, and it was while at the Blues that she realised she needed to address her mental health.
She took time away from Northern Ireland duty so she could get herself in the right headspace and another short spell away from the Blues followed.
"Mentally I just shut down," Holloway said. "My mum also had a big influence. She knew I probably wasn't in any fit state to carry on.
"She was able to push me and say 'Becks, it's fine'. I needed a break, my body was telling me, my mind was telling me. I wasn't in any fit state to go out and compete."
Republic winger Quinn, who is still at Birmingham, added: "I know you didn't want to miss any games or feel like you were letting the girls down, but it's something you felt you had to do.
"I think it was a really sensible decision at the time and really brave. Credit to the club, the staff were completely understanding and allowed that. I wanted what was best for you and so did the girls."
Holloway earned a move to Racing Louisville in the United States in March 2022, and she took another break before leaving Birmingham "to look after myself".
"As athletes you always want to be the best. Even at Blues, I obviously struggled when we weren't winning and I'm someone who loves to win.
"That was tough. Always being in a relegation battle, putting your body on the line for 90 minutes week in, week out - it takes a toll on you."
The move to the NWSL brought its own challenges as she had to live away from her family and Quinn, who she had started dating the previous year.
"The experiences I had playing in England were completely different to playing in America," Holloway said.
"I was faced with not playing as regularly and dealing with those emotions.
"Dealing with living away from my family and you. As much as my team-mates and the girls were great, they helped me through, you still struggle to talk about it because you don't want to be a burden on your team-mates.
"You don't want to be that negative person coming to training and talking about those things. It's then finding ways away from football to deal with it, whether that is speaking to a psychologist or journaling.
"Even speaking to those closest to you, like your family. Then again I found it hard speaking to you because you are also in football and I didn't want to come across as negative all the time with you as you have to deal with your playing."
In an open and honest conversation, Quinn said: "that's what friends and family and loved ones are for".
"One thing we have learnt is that you addressed how you were feeling and did things to help yourself.
"I think that is the most important thing because everyone is going to have those moments and it is an ongoing thing. You have learnt how you work and how you cope, so that is a massively important thing.
"You needed to prioritise yourself."
Despite only being together two years, Quinn and Holloway have both played at major tournaments and the Republic of Ireland winger scored the first women's international goal at the Aviva Stadium when the Irish neighbours met in the Nations League opener in September.
Quinn was present at St Mary's as Holloway featured in all three group matches in Southampton after helping Northern Ireland qualify for Euro 2022,
A year on, Quinn was playing for the Republic at their first World Cup in Australia. Not many couples can say they have achieved that.
"We've both done things that are massive in our careers," said Quinn. "It's been really nice to have you as my support system, being with you in those times.
"That day at the Aviva we were both involved, which was great, and then there was the Euros. I was really proud watching you walk out. I was very jealous, but that's just one of those things.
"It made me want to go out and do something similar. When we reached the World Cup you were so happy for me. I think that is something really unique, being with someone in the same job.
"It was cool to have you with me, support me and understand what that meant. I think that is something really special and something we'll definitely look back on.
Holloway added: "The fact it was so close together in the space of a year.
"We've only been together two years as well, so the fact we have achieved those things in that space of time is crazy."