“Growing up, I had a huge amount of anger within me, coupled with a massive amount of frustration. I didn’t know where these feelings were coming from, but they were always present. I didn’t understand why I was always angry, why I couldn’t deal with my emotions, or any form of criticism. I accepted that I was just broken in some way. People around me knew me as someone who was a bit of a hothead. Looking back now, I can see the connections of my mental health issues to my parents’ challenging relationship which and ultimately ended up in a separation. I am the youngest of three, and at the time, it impacted all of us, but somehow it manifested on a different level in me. For a number of years, instability in the family and traumatic friction between them was part of everyday life, and even after their separation, their friction continued affecting our lives. My brother and I ended up moving out with our dad. My mother was a difficult woman. When she passed from cancer in 2011, I was not only grieving the loss of my mother but also grieving the missed opportunity of a life we should’ve had. The year of her passing I was 24 and I hit rock bottom. Her passing was the last push to get me to that very dark place. I couldn’t hide it or bat it down anymore. It was just too many complex emotions stacked on top of each other to deal with alone. I was lucky to understand the seriousness of my situation and reached out for help. I phoned my GP and told her everything I was going through. Just that phone call resulted in an incredible sense of relief, knowing that I don’t have to do this alone. After years of counselling, it became obvious that my depression is here to stay. In a weird way, it gave me a sense of comfort. I spent too much of my life hiding it and trying to heal myself out of it. By accepting it and honestly opening up about it made all the difference. Only then, I could grab onto it like a life-long learning project. This way, I was able to see the upside. There is meaning attached to my struggles, an opportunity, and a mission to continue educating people and advocating for those who are walking in the same shoes today.”

Ireland has one of the highest rates of mental illness in Europe it is estimated that approximately 150,000 people per year are living with severe depression.

Talking Depression is an initiative by Janssen Sciences Ireland UC to encourage and support open, honest conversations about severe depression Janssen has created a suite of content that can be accessed at https://www.janssenwithme.ie/en-ie/depression