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Mental Health

“I was thinking of killing myself 24 hours a day," - Irish personalities talk about depression

A host of Irish celebrities have opened up to TV3 about their battles with depression.

A GROUP OF high-profile Irish personalities have laid out their struggles with mental health in a new TV3 special which will air tonight.

In ‘Time to Talk’, Cavan GAA star Alan O’Mara, rugby analyst Brent Pope, Spin 103.8 DJ Nikki Hayes and best-selling author Marian Keyes all talk about their own battles with depression.

Alan O’Mara

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The Cavan footballer tells presenter Sinead Desmond that in his own battle with depression left him questioning his own existence.

“You start to question your existence, why am I here? Is this what my life is all about? Is this what I’m going to do? This voice is building in your head and this just kept snowballing up until Christmas with me until the day I was driving home.

I’m driving along the motorway and I have an image of me just swerving the car into the wall, this just pops into my head.

“There’s a slip road off, and you know there’s a barrier there which breaks up the junction, I just see the car just slam straight into that.”

He adds that only a vision of his parents stopped him from swerving into the wall.

Nikki Hayes

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Spin 103.8 DJ Nikki Hayes tells Desmond of her attempt to end her own life.

“I was 17 and I overdosed. I remember I was in the box room in my house. I went down to our medicine cupboard which was over the fridge and just took whatever I could. I know there was a lot of Paracetamol in there. I think there was some of my mother’s blood pressure tablets and I just, very quickly I think, in the space of maybe 20 minutes/ half an hour, took as much as I could but then I told my mum.

I don’t know if it was to try to hurt her or what it was but it was definitely a cry for help.

Hayes spent time in hospital after having her stomach pumped and made another attempt on her life in her college years.

Brent Pope

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The former rugby player turned analyst says that when he was younger, he would have panic attacks in the lead up to exams.

He says that he always had low self-worth and would worry irrationally.

“My Mother would always have a bath, in those days they’d leave the water in and she’d say ‘Look, go in and have a bath and try to relax.’

For some reason as soon as I hit the water I would go into this panic attack state and I just remember sitting there sometimes for hours unbeknownst to my parents at the time.

Maybe one or two o’clock in the morning, you know, blue, the water would be freezing cold, shaking there because I would think, and it’s quite emotional for me now actually, there’s no way I can pass these exams.

Marian Keyes

The author of such books as Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married and Anybody Out There? says that her depression led to an attempt on her life.

I was thinking of killing myself 24 hours a day, because I couldn’t sleep and I planned in incessantly.

“There was a time in my life when I thought it was a person’s right to end their life if everything became too much and funnily enough, having gone through all of this, I would really prefer now if people were given help and kept safe so that they didn’t.”

Time to Talk airs tonight at 7.30pm on TV3.

Helplines:
Samaritans 1850 60 90 90
GPA counselling 1800 201 346
Pieta House Head Office 01 6010000

Read: Irish goalkeeper urges people to seek help with mental health issues

Read: New Donegal centre hopes to tackle mental health issues and rural isolation

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