‘I thought there was no way out. Creativity saved my life’- Inspirational speech by actor and activist John Connors

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John Connors accepting his speech at the IFTAs 2018

“This is a huge moment for me. Seven and a half years ago I was sitting in my house in Darndale in a little box room in the darkness contemplating suicide. That’s no mess. I thought there was no way out. My brother Joe reached out to me and we spoke for hours and he said I needed something. Something to latch onto. Something where I could put this energy into. he suggested acting. I dunno why but it was just a lightbulb moment. I remembered coming out of my first class… and it was like I was walking on a cloud.

I just discovered something. This world I never knew existed called creativity. It saved my life, it really did…… Creativity can be a component to heal people.”

I’m a huge fan of John Connors. I have heard him speak out over the years about his background, his community and give voice to many people who feel disenfranchised by Irish politics and the fragmentation that exists in society today. I think he is a great role model for loads of people. He is trying to break out against all the stereotypes that society is putting on him.

He is extremely proud of his traveller background and of course he should be, but society tells him that he shouldn’t be and that being a traveller is something to be ashamed of. In his IFTA acceptance speech for ‘Best Actor’ for ‘Cardboard Gangsters’ he talks about the fact that he can’t get an agent or a casting director to look past the fact that he is a traveller.

Forget all his activism. He is also a great actor. I loved him in Cardboard Gangsters and he thoroughly deserved his award. I saw the film in the cinema and it was one of my favourite Irish films in recent years.

He also talks about seven years previously when he was sitting in a box room in his house in Darndale contemplating suicide. His credits his brother with reaching out to him and suggesting he try acting as an outlet. Suicide is an huge problem in Ireland, but in the traveling community it is an even bigger problem.

He describes finding acting and a way to release his creativity as being a ‘lightbulb moment’ and credits creativity with saving his life. He believes “Creativity can be a component to heal people.” and I believe he is 100% right. Continue reading “‘I thought there was no way out. Creativity saved my life’- Inspirational speech by actor and activist John Connors”

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Please don’t give up

 

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Mental health doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone at any time. It doesn’t care that you don’t have time for this shit, it’s a weekend, or after 5pm.

If you are struggling today please read my blog post which is linked below. I don’t know you, but I do know that you don’t have to do this alone. There is help out there and although it can sometimes just feel too much, or impossible- you can do it. It’s not a race, there’s no rush. Just one tiny baby step at a time. One small minute at a time. You’ve got this 🙄

If you are feeling suicidal, please reach out. To a friend, family-member, mental health help-line, doctor etc just someone. Take some time to read my blog post-war it might help you or someone who really needs to see it will see it shared in your social media accounts. Go easy, be gentle. Xx
A message for anyone who is feeling suicidal 

Remember you can speak to someone confidentially no matter what time of the day or night by calling Pieta House Helpline on 1800 247 247, or Samaritans on 116 123.

What Star Wars taught me about my darkest times

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Carrie Fisher

 

I’m just out of seeing the latest Star Wars film. You either love or hate Star Wars but I was a big fan of the late Carrie Fisher whose first year anniversary was today. She had a long history with mental illness and addiction and a lot of wisdom around the struggles that come with both of them.

It can be so hard to keep going when things are tough. But one of the quotes from the film today really stuck with me. Rey one of the lead characters asks Fisher’s character Leia : “How do we rebuild the force from this?” To which Fisher simply replies, “We have everything we need.”

Even when you don’t feel like it, when things are so tough that you have lost all hope. You need to hang in there because despite not feeling like it, you have everything you need.

Even if that means reaching out to someone for support. You can do that. It might be struggle, but no matter how bad things feel right now, you can do it.

If you need to talk you can ring Pieta House, Preventing Suicide and Self Harm for free on 1800 247 247, or Samaritans Ireland on 116 123.

It’s a struggle

Okay. Where should I start?

Things are difficult right now. That would be an understatement in fact. Since July I have come off 30mg of Olanzipine, 1200mg of Lithium and 120mg of Duloxitine.

I am taking one mental health med now. 30mg of Mertazipine.

It’s been 17 years since I’ve been on so little medication for my mental health. It has been a physical and mental battle. One that I don’t often win.

Since I started reducing the medication my blood pressure has been extremely high. I’ve been taking a blood pressure tablet for the past month and it’s still high. I guess it’s no surprise to me that the stress my physical and mental self is under is being reflected in my high blood pressure.

My new psychiatrist believes I don’t need medication. Maybe she’s right, I don’t know.

But I know that the feeling of absolute dread and fear in my stomach and chest makes me feel absolutely awful. I feel like I’m suffocating. I feel hopeless.

But I’m fighting. Deep down  know that I don’t want to give up no matter how exhausted I am. I’m tired of fighting with the thoughts in my head that tell me things would be so much easier if I just gave up.

I’m tired of fighting with all the people who tell me that If I want to give up that it is absolutely my choice and there is nothing anyone can do.

I’m tired of living from hour to hour. And the constant treading of water. Fighting to stay afloat. it’s exhausting.

I know it is a hugely positive thing to be on so little medication. I just wish I didn’t feel so awful.

I also know and am 100 per cent sure that I am not choosing to be this way. I don’t know anyone who would.

For now, I’m relying on the wise words of the ‘philosopher’ Dory from Finding Nemo. ‘Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.’

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The fight for my life

About 18 months ago I got sick. Very sick. I ended up in hospital, and was to stay there for almost nine months. I was embarrassed and ashamed and felt that I couldn’t tell anyone where I was. I told some people I was on holidays, others that I was away for work. But the truth was that I was on a psychiatric ward fighting for my life. I say fighting because that’s what I felt I was doing.

It all happened rather quickly. One minute I was bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding and the next thing I was inpatient on an acute psychiatric ward. It all happened so fast and in a number of weeks I unravelled in spectacular style.

At first I was afraid. I was so afraid of the thoughts that were going on in my head that I didn’t tell anyone. I kept it to myself. I’m very lucky and have great friends and family but couldn’t find the words to tell them how I was feeling so as far as they were concerned I was fine. But I wasn’t. I was far from fine and was in such a bad place that I just couldn’t find the words to explain how I was feeling. I believed that I would be better off dead and that my friends and family would be better off without me. Continue reading “The fight for my life”

Youth not politicians need to take control of suicide prevention via spunout.ie

Via@spunout.ie

Opinion: It’s up to you to tackle youth suicide.

By: Ian Howley

Ask yourself these questions.

  • What has the government done in the last year to improve suicide prevention?
  • What has Ireland done in the last year to tackle the high level of suicides?
  • What has your county/town/community done in the last year to stop young people taking their own lives?
  • What have YOU done in the last year to stop suicide?

Throughout the 2000’s, Ireland became a place where young people sat back and enjoyed the journey through life without much hardship. This has all changed in the last few years or so. Not only does today’s youth have to put up with a recession, job loss, poverty, dole queues and emigration. Young people have to still ‘find themselves.’

Over the last 5 years or so (starting from about the age of 21), I have been heavily involved with suicide prevention. I have shared my story of battling with my own demons as a young person. I have been at conferences, talks, schools, colleges etc. I have talked to hundreds and thousands of people about why it’s important to talk about your problems, to speak out and to have some courage to change your life. I have watched as people connect with me, cry with me, laugh with me but yet in 2010 suicides in Ireland are increasing faster then ever before. The latest official figures show a 24% increase in suicides in with 527 people taking their own lives in 2008. Last year suicide prevention funding was cut by 12.5% with another 6.5% this year. Suicide prevention receives roughly €5 million a year while road safety receives €40 million, yet more people die by suicide then on our roads.

Many of you will be disgusted with these figures and say that the government should do more. While I agree with this statement I also say you need to be realistic. The current government has failed this country miserably in more ways than suicide prevention. To expect them to be capable of tackling suicide prevention is unrealistic. Politicians are more worried about saving their jobs then saving lives.

It’s up to you to tackle youth suicide. You need to realise that only by coming together as a collective group will change happen. You need to step up in your community, take a lead and say enough is enough. Suicide is not a national problem, it’s a community problem. Who knows more about your community than you?

It’s time for you to get out there, make your voice heard, get involved in local suicide prevention charities and make a real difference.

Recently a friend of mine was going through some troubles. He came close to taking his own life. Just being there and listening to him was enough to save his life. Make your friends listen, make your community listen, make politicians listen and let’s eradicate suicide in Ireland forever.

For more great articles check out http://www.spunout.ie

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