MY STRUGGLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH – PART 5

Thinking Dublin Garden Park Ozi Mental Health

And it all caught up with me!

Been a while since got down to writing about my story. In truth, life has been busy lately. And whilst I wish I could drop everything and write, in reality I have two careers and a family to support. It ain’t easy. However, in the past 10 days or so I have felt this burning desire to get back to my story.

I want to thank you all in advance once more for your support. I can tell that me opening up is helping others, and I am having many conversations on mental health with many different people. And slowly, slowly the word is starting to spread. Which can only be a good thing. I continue to urge you all, continue to talk about it, as much as possible. This is the only way we can all truly make a difference to all those who suffer.

So, back to the story. After 10 years of having a great time, partying hard and ignoring the fact that years of a high level of stress was really starting to take its toll, the turning point finally came. At the time I must have been around 28 years old. I had felt over the previous few years that internally things were changing with me. I was becoming less and less patient. My view on many things started to become more and more cynical. I had become very pessimistic. But critically, I also felt a rage burning within me.

This rage, as it were, came to a head one night in Paceville. In some ways it was both the best and worst day of my life. This is what happened. I was sitting at the bar at my usual hangout Coconut Grove. Probably by then 4 or 5 pints down me already. And next to me there was a couple arguing. That argument developed to the point where it started to become physical. I already felt very anxious by what was unfolding, however when it became physical my anxiety reached an all time high. It was at the point when the man started to become physical with the woman that I reached boiling point.

Call it chivalry, call it an old fashioned set of morals, physical violence on women is just something I cannot sit back and stand for. It was only pushing and shoving mind you, but it was enough for me to interject into the situation, voice my displeasure at the whole thing and do a little pushing and shoving of my own. Of course with the male protagonist in the situation. In the short term the situation died down and the couple left the bar. But my fight or flight mechanism had already been triggered. And I was tap dancing on the edge.

I remember sitting at the bar, by myself, just getting more and more wound up the more I thought about it. In reality, I had no reason to continue even thinking about the situation, but I was in a loop. I was filled with anger, fear, nerves, anxiety, the lot. A short time later, the man returned with four of his friends. And when it became immediately apparent that they had returned for a confrontation, I just completely snapped. On occasion I had lost my temper before in the past, but never ever like this.

Fight Angry Baboon Animals
I snapped and had in an instant become an animal

Immediately I lunged towards the group and a massive 5 on 1 brawl broke out. I didn’t like the person I was that evening. Imagine for a moment a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth, with only the thought of attacking on the mind, that is what I had become. I had completely lost control of myself. I held my own in the fight for quite sometime mind you, but was eventually overcome. The fight is really not the point here. The important thing is I had reached a breaking point. Sure I could try and convince you that my actions were justified, and perhaps they were considering the situation. But the fact of the matter is I completely lost control. The fight may have happened anyway, but the simple truth is, I interjected myself into the situation and I started the brawl.

A part of me was proud that I stood up for myself and others, but a part of me was also ashamed. I was disappointed that I had lost control to such a violent extent. And I really did not want it to happen again. The next few months were very difficult. I became a recluse. I did not want to be around people. Only my closest friends were some level of comfort, but even being around them was a challenge. I was completely depressed. My paranoia and anxiety had reached an all time high. I was suddenly convinced that the world was out to get me. It was only a matter of time before my world came crashing down, or at least that is what my mind was telling me.

I tried to puff the pain away, but that was only making things worse. Now, my life was on a complete downward spiral. All elements were suffering. I was good at hiding it though. I still kept up all my work responsibilities. Doing my daily radio show, still spinning music at clubs, bars and parties. Still had bills to pay. But it was tough. I remember on many an occasion, I would be in the studio at Island Sound Radio doing a five hour drive time show. I was in so much internal pain that I could hardly talk. But I had to push myself through. If I am honest with you now, these were some of the hardest days of my life.

Imagine being a radio presenter, having to entertain a nation in the afternoon whilst in so much pain and anguish your body was at the point of being physically sick. In fact the truth is, on more than one occasion during a show, I would discreetly head to the bathroom to vomit. The saddest part of all was that no one around me knew. I had become an expert at hiding it. Sure, I am certain some people must have realised a change in mood of some sort. But I was so ashamed of what I was going through, I did everything within my power to make sure as few people as possible would know what was really going on.

It was at this point that it finally became clear. I would have to change my life around, and quickly, otherwise I wasn’t going to make it…

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