John left this world 12 years ago, back in 2005. To be honest, I didn’t realise til I had a chat with my dad this evening. I’ve tried to remember him each year, as I’m sure lots of people miss him and think of him regularly.
The post below is something I wrote back in the spring and didn’t have the will to share it before now. Since then I’ve heard all sorts of people talk about their struggles. That’s been a great comfort to realise it’s ok that people feel down from time to time, but there is a way up. Waterford hurler Maurice Shanahan to Cavan goalkeeper Alan O’Mara.
No doubt John wouldn’t be impressed with my sloppiness on this post – but I’m sure he’ll be cheering on the Deise on Sunday.
Mental Health & Wellbeing
13 February 2017
I work for a great company that looks after employees really well. Recently they hosted an event on mental health & wellbeing and had Niall Breslin talk, along with Sean O’Connell a psychologist. Bressie’s heartfelt talk, very personal and touching, really got me – even though I’d heard him before and though I knew a lot about this topic.
Bressie looks such a successful guy. Talented, funny, attractive strong, driven, well known. A celebrity. Yet he’s lived such a fragile life, hidden away from everyone he knew.
His story really resonated on two levels:
1. I can see the fear, lies, negativity in my own life
2. Ultimately this exact though pattern went through my brothers’ mind and resulted in him making the biggest decision, to end his life.
Bressie has the confidence to talk openly about mental health, saying it’s more important than physical health and exercise. His talk was littered with funny stories but the message is positive & powerful. For 20 years he’s had to deal with crippling anxiety and fear that has broken his life, forcing him out of his pro-rugby career, meaning he didn’t do well at school or university and was a reason his band broke up.
His self-awareness is what impressed me most. There is hope.
He could recognise (a) what happened him at a given moment and (b) has rationalised why it happened to him. That’s the biggest jump into the unknown – asking for help from someone else.
I’ve never felt the anxiety or crippling feat on that level, but I have had doubts, felt depressed and worst of all had to lie to family & friends. We’ve all done those things at times. Whether it was about relationships, friends or hopes – always keeping them at arms length where they cant pyre or see my vulnerabilities.
But I think that’s the miss – my parents can see how I am. My good friends consciously reach out to include me. Friends and colleagues probably realise when I’m a bit withdrawn.
So what can I do about it? Recognise it. Name it. Be open to people. Spend time with positive people. Ask for help. Be myself, not what others want.
Find out more
dil.pieta.ie – sign up for the Darkness Into Light walk/run next May 2018