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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 11 November, 2019
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Bressie: 'I ran away from dealing with my issues and lied to the people I loved'

The “sure it will all be grand” mentality, the “man up” mantra, the “snap out of it” attitudes repressing our emotions and it needs to end, writes Niall Breslin.

Niall Breslin

SOMETHING HAS CHANGED in Ireland over the last few years. For so long we honoured our global stereotypes as people full of character and good time charm, too afraid to admit a weakness or court failure, which inadvertently led to a damaging internalisation of repressed emotions.

The “sure it will all be grand” mentality, the “man up” mantra, the “snap out of it” attitudes.

When we repress our emotions, we repress our identities. When we can’t fully be ourselves, when we disguise aspects of who we are, life can become very difficult and challenging.

Those hidden aspects always find a way of showing themselves, and often in very unhealthy damaging ways when coming from a bottled-up place inside.

‘I made excuses’

This is exactly what I did for almost half of my life. I made excuses for myself. I ran away from dealing with my issues. I lied to the people I loved. I threw away career after career because I was defined, manipulated and ultimately controlled by a stigma that choked a society into silence, a society that needed to talk.

That society is now talking, that stigma is now slowly eroding.

I wasn’t handed a solution or a cure. I had to go out and seek what worked best for me. Before I could explore all the possible interventions out there, I had to inform everyone around me, those I was close to and worked with, what I was going through.

Only when I received this peer to peer social support was I able to proactively seek recovery and attempt to take control back in my life.

This took time, patience and an unwavering determination to succeed but there was no other option but success.

Taking the first step

I know it’s frightening and quite intimidating to admit to yourself that you need to get help. I know it’s incredibly difficult to take that first step but we at A Lust for Life are here to help you.

Our aim is to support, guide and encourage you to explore all the resources that exist out there to allow you to cope better with all that life throws at you. Our website is a movement dedicated to wellbeing and is a positive environment that aims to promote conversation, recovery, growth and sustainability when it comes to our holistic wellness. It’s for everyone.

We can all benefit from improving our mental and physical fitness, exploring our inner world as well as how our outer world, our society is functioning. When we invest in our lives in this way it can help us cope better as individuals with the inevitable drama and crisis that are a natural part of life, but also so we can support and comfort our friends and family when they may not be coping too well.

Hope for a cultural shift

I am sincerely excited at this cultural shift towards wellness in Ireland. We have been through a lot as a country but have tended to cover up the scars, muted our emotions and disguised our issues. This filtered through generations too afraid to talk but we can be the generation that stops this self-destructive trend.

Today is World Mental Health Day, but this is something we need to work on and embrace every single day. I’m asking you, calling on you, to please ask for help if you need it. Pick up the phone, make the call, send the email, make your appointment. Do it now. Talk to someone. Or if you know someone who is suffering, reach out to them. Life is precious.
This article originally appeared in Niall Breslin’s new wellbeing website www.alustforlife.com. Niall Breslin is a mental health campaigner, a retired professional rugby and inter county football player, a multi-platinum selling song writer and music producer, public speaker and documentary maker. His new book ‘Me and My Mate Jeffrey’ is out now. 

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Niall Breslin

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