PERSONAL STORIES

My experience of a toxic working environment and what got me through

It was supposed to be my career turning point. I felt elated when I got the news. My big break finally... and my family and wife were also delighted for me

From drug addiction to new life: How meditation helped me sober down

I was just 14 when I smoked my first weed – I was at a party and all my friends were smoking up. I hesitated initially, but then I thought ‘What harm would one drag do?’

Mindful meditation: 4 ways it helped my drug and alcohol addiction recovery

When mindful meditation was first suggested as a way of helping me recover from my addictions, my initial reaction was: okay, I’ll consider just about anything, but what exactly is it?

Flying solo – The challenges of Single Parenting and 3 things that help me...

Tonight I felt like I was failing at this parenting thing. My son was late home, hadn’t answered his phone all evening, dinner was cold, my four year old daughter was in the bath

We need to talk – ‘I’m no longer ashamed to talk about having depression...

I have depression. I struggled to write that sentence, and I tried to phrase it in a nice flowery paragraph about being on my way out of a depressive spell etc

Finding meaning in the aftermath of childhood trauma

Through my own personal journey of trauma I have come to appreciate the possibility for personal growth that traumatic events can bring

Face to face with shame – Using DBT to face difficult emotions

“In my view, suicide is not really a wish for life to end.' What is it then?' It is the only way a powerless person can find to make everybody else look away from his shame...”

Breaking free after a separation – Some valuable lessons learned along the way

This January as I carried out the tedious task of taking down our Christmas tree I was extra cautious with my ever growing supply of fairy lights

‘We are not broken, we’re human’ – Overcoming years of misdiagnosis and...

‘Over the years I’ve come to recognise that depression is, and quite likely always will be to one extent or another, simply part of my life, part of who I am.’

Overcoming the shame of being gay

I have always looked at myself negatively, harshly and unfavourably. For a long time I put this down to my looks, not handsome enough, not fit enough, causing me to be so self-aware which in turn caused deep rooted anxiety

Struggling with the grief of losing a loved one? Do more of what feeds...

It’s early January and I’m contemplating ‘The New Year’. I don’t really know how to feel about 2017 coming to a close and facing into a new year

Healing is an ongoing process – You can’t just abandon the process that pulled...

It’s always hard to experience the low points again. To return to incessantly checking your phone and shaking your legs, to question everyone’s motives

How struggling with separation and single parenthood brought me home to myself

One year ago I began this article after returning from a weekend shared with friends which was both painful and deeply humbling

You have to cry out the sad to make room for the happy

When my friend’s Mam passed away a number of years ago, her little boy saw her trying to hold back the tears in front of him

Mojo Rising: ‘I thought of suicide as my only option until I found Mojo’

I have faced different struggles throughout most of my life, but it wasn’t until my forties I reached my lowest point. I had nothing left

Creating a new reality on the other side of abuse, fear, anxiety, depression and...

My story is like so many other people’s stories, in that I hid for years in the belief that no one else

Mojo Rising: ‘I couldn’t help his depression, as his wife I was simply too...

Everyone has bumps in their relationships: moments where we fight, times when we disappoint, issues that frustrate us – and yet these are but small challenges we face as humans

Advice to the 15 year old me with Social Anxiety Disorder

I am 15 years old, quiet, anxious. I have just counted on my copy book during the last class in school how many days it would be until I would be finished secondary school forever

Two years, two breakdowns, one stronger woman

Hey there, my name is Mary Claire. I am 29, a single mother and a student. I am also mentally ill. I have suffered from mental illness since I was at least 15

Overcoming severe anxiety and panic attacks to feeling calm, happy and brave

The concept of “being aware” was not something that ever existed in my life. I was not aware of my thoughts, my emotions, and certainly not my breathing

Missing someone who’s still here: ‘I’ve lost my sibling, but never had an opportunity...

On December 12th this year, my sister Shona will be 40 years old. Sadly, there will be no party

Crying into the saucepan

Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex mood disorder. It is usually diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 39. I believe this will be diagnosed sooner as we become more educated about the symptoms

Living with scars – If self-harm could speak it would say “I hurt, I...

There are so many sayings about scars. The ones that are popular are those that depict them as a sign of survival, of strength, or of having struggled but come out the other end

My anxiety and me

My heart races, thoughts are rampant coming at me from all directions, tense shoulders, on edge, my breath is faster, my fists tighter, looking for the exit, will I bolt now, breathe Darragh, for the love of God relax

Understanding Selective Mutism – How a phobia of my voice shaped my life

My wedding was coming up. The choice of making a speech or not had been presented to me. I had decided to make a speech. I wanted to make a speech

Opening myself up to be vulnerable has made me a better leader

We are all vulnerable. Fact! Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. Being vulnerable is being human. To be vulnerable is to be authentic

What I want my friends to know about my social anxiety

I’ve always been known as the shy girl; the quiet girl who was too shy to talk to new people. Growing up I was the little kid who stood behind my mother’s legs

Depression: Calling it by its proper name

I have depression. It has taken some 11 years to admit that. I’ve “had low mood”, “not felt great”, “not been myself”, “been low energy”, “been a bit allergic” many times. But this year, when I felt low for longer than usual

Breaking free from psychological abuse – a male perspective

Bereavement of my father at an early age had left me with a great need for validation of myself. I craved it so badly, especially from male peers

An ex-member of An Garda Síochána’s story – Post-Traumatic Stress, Bipolar and me

Cast your memory back to the year 2000. Were you were dancing like a Maniac to DJ Mark McCabe’s tune, working in your first job after university

Thank you Jenny Greene and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra for providing an escape from...

Last weekend I attended my first music concert since developing Acute Anxiety Disorder some years ago

The first step: running toward mental health

In university, my boyfriend Samuel and all his friends raced bicycles. It was thrilling to be around them. At the time, I didn’t quite understand why; I couldn’t have put into words that what attracted me was their focus, their confidence

Sport is key in helping me manage my mental health

I’ve always enjoyed playing sports. Ever since I was 6 years old I’ve spent countless hours running around after a ball, either for soccer or Gaelic football

6 warning signs that your substance or alcohol abuse is getting out of control

Though there’s nothing wrong with an occasional drink every now and then, there is a very thin line between enjoying some situations with alcohol or even drugs

Surviving childhood trauma and sexual abuse

One of the most frequent questions I am asked when people contact our support group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse is, “Will you tell me when I am better?”

For anyone with trauma – A practice that helped me un-numb my pain and...

After working very intimately and personally with trauma over the past couple of years, I felt inspired to write a few words about this

The evolution of grief from losing my Dad at the age of 12

Grief is like no other emotion I've felt because it isn't just one feeling. It's every feeling you can imagine, amplified. It can creep up on you some days in a quick burst

Knocked down by grief, I stood back up on a paddle board

Standing on Dollymount Beach in Dublin someone asked me, how did you start paddle boarding? I didn’t know what to say… Here is the real answer

Living outside the box – No longer breaking under the weight of my past

When I was ten years old, someone I loved gave me a box. The box confused me. It was not a box for children. For one, it was far too heavy

Depression does not discriminate

I was part of a loving and stable family. I was lucky to experience no trauma in my life. I was the captain of my school, club, and county. I was the leader of the Senior Concert Band. I was a young coach and referee

Therapy gave me understanding, but medication gave me control

With all of the great talk about Pieta House and breaking the mental health stigmas right now I thought it would be productive to write a brief piece about my experience

Surfing the Bipolar wave

After my last A Lust for Life article 10 upsides of Bipolar Disorder, I realised that I needed to examine the downsides too. However, this was not a dreary project as my main focus was to provide steps, hopes, and inspirations

When they found me that night, I had this note. I have rewritten...

My boyfriend and I had just been to a gig in the O2 that night. It was his birthday and I had been granted a few hours leave after a few months in the hospital

Green Ribbon Month: I thought that I was made wrong because I couldn’t feel...

Zoe Alicia is an ambassador with See Change and is sharing her story in support of the Green Ribbon project

‘Someone will always care’ – Thank you to whoever left this note for me...

Three years ago my life changed. I was just about to turn 30, had wonderful friends and family around me and a job I loved. But something just wasn’t right

No one in Ireland should have to wait 9 months to talk to someone

As someone who has suffered from General Anxiety Disorder and depression for over 10 years (most of my adult life from the age of 19 to 30 years of age)

I nearly gave up on life but I’m so glad I didn’t

Being able to reflect on my life now from a place of good health and wellbeing I can see how I have often taken life for granted. I can see now that I was struggling with so many aspects of my life which I ignored

Finding a deeper understanding of my OCD as a result of reaching out for...

From the outside I was your average male enjoyed sports, socialising and was doing well in work. On the inside, I was going through inner turmoil for many years

Life can be a mess but it’s a lovely mess – my journey to...

My name is Natalie, I'm 32 and what I'd describe as a lovely mess. I'm too nervous to sleep right now so it's an ideal time for a brain vomit

Even cancer roller-coaster journeys have silver linings

My breast cancer journey started back in September 2013. So as I write this article I am now ‘cancer free’ for almost 4 years

The deep loneliness of withdrawing from friends and family

There has always been an air of simplicity about my presence in character. Despite the ambivertedness (qualities of both introversion and extroversion

A mindful journey with cancer – John’s story

In June of 2016, John and his wife were looking forward to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary when he noticed a small growth on his forehead. Within three days, John was told that he had a rare form of melanoma

Accepting the duality of anxiety

My name is Laura McMahon. I am not someone famous but I am someone you know. I am anxiety and depression personified. I own mugs that have a better handle than I do on life

Tackling anxiety and my fear of hospitals

It’s 10.42am as I sit in the cafe area of the University Hospital Limerick. The place is buzzing between the rattling of trolleys and the hum of conversation. I sit with the exit door strategically in sight as I double check

How LifeRing meetings nourish me and truly empower my sobriety

I’m someone like you. My life for many years revolved around having the craic. Being Irish, the craic always revolved around drink, and later drugs

How cycling can help with depression

Recently I was able to catch up with an old friend, and I told him that I’d started a bicycle blog. He was interested as cycling had played a significant part in shaping the person he is today

Dealing with mental illness and the financial consequences

Illness doesn’t come cheap. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out whether or not you can relate it to personal experience

How I cope when struggling with anxiety and depression

Like so many others I have come through some extremely tough times in my life, moments where I felt I had only one option

5 valuable lessons I learned when recovering from cocaine addiction

Going through addiction recovery has been up to this day the most challenging experience I’ve lived. It was also the most rewarding one

Above the blues – my mental health has made me who I am today

So, my story with mental health issues really began in first year. My parents started fighting a lot, I was becoming a teenager and school was a bit of a mess

3 things that helped save my life in an Adolescent Psychiatric Unit

A Special, that's what you’re called when you are underage and admitted to an Adult Psychiatric Unit. I was 16 years old when this name was given to me first

You’re not sick are you? My conflict with weight, medication and choosing to be...

A few years ago, I was walking around my local supermarket

Loss of desire

It is hard explaining depression to people who have never experienced it. It is a debilitating illness with many faces and many factors, often far too many to name

Accepting an Eating Disorder – A father’s perspective

As a dad, it is often instinctive to try to “make things good”. To fix things, to make trouble go away

What not to say to someone with an eating disorder

Supporting someone with an eating disorder can be a bit of a minefield. What do you say? What do you not say?

Breaking misconceptions: The man in the mirror

‘Why did you stop eating?’ my aunt once asked me, ‘Did you look in the mirror and see someone fat?’ Inside, I sigh

My journey of abuse, adversity and growth

From four years of age, I was abused by my father. He was a controller and a bully. I have memories of beatings, sexual degradation, mind games, starvations

Dealing with my alcohol demons

My eyes flickered open and as I turned my head towards the windows, the shaft of light that broke through the curtains blinded me. I closed my eyes, felt the heaviness of my head as I tried to lift it off the pillow

The importance of bed-making

About a year ago, I bumped into a very dear friend one Saturday in the Milk Market (Hi Una). Now, for us and many other friends of mine, if you’re in the Milk Market in Limerick City of a bright Saturday morn

I chose life – Surviving alcoholism in a country that worships alcohol

As Homer Simpson once quoted: “Alcohol - the cause of, and the solution to all of life’s problems”. And what a wise quote for a simple cartoon man!

10 Upsides of Bipolar!

As I walked the road of recovery, I began to realise how Bipolar Disorder actually graced my life. Here I share my blessings with you

Grief and the aftermath

My beautiful, youngest sister Von has been dead almost eighteen months now. Even reading that sentence still feels dreamlike, as if I'm reading someone else's words, but no, they're mine

Trust your gut – When I stopped looking for all the answers outside I...

I’ve come to think of my gut as an internal navigation system. In the past two years mine has been more like a driving stick or an aggressive handbrake

I sprained my mental health

I recently sprained my mental health, twisted it badly. I'm on crutches for a couple of weeks, possibly longer. "What happened?" they said

How living with someone with depression taught me the meaning of True Love

Christmas 2015, things got really tough. I came home from abroad to spend a couple of weeks with my family and friends over the holidays

The journey of a special needs mother – My road to acceptance

The anticipation - will it be a boy or a girl, who will they look like, the dreams, the hopes, please God let everything be okay. I was ten days overdue expecting my second child

When it’s not the most wonderful time of the year

I always loved Christmas as a child but like many people the novelty wore off as I grew into adulthood. Battling with Schizophrenia for years, especially in my early twenties

How sadness pushed me to be a better version of myself

Give me a person who has lived all their life without pain and I will show you someone who is living a life deprived of self-discovery

Countless shades of grey – Is it okay to talk about sexual orientation as...

Navigating the area of sexuality as a teenager with a traumatic history is anything but easy

Fu@k you eating disorder

When are you thin enough to have an eating disorder? How bad does it have to get? Well, let me make it easy for you, Don’t look at the size of your clothes; don’t body check

What do you do when you cry in the office?

Can you shut the door? Is there a door to shut? Do you try to make it to the safety of a bathroom cubicle first? Are you loud? Is it muffled, silent sobbing?

My mental story

I am a strong advocate for mental health awareness. If I were to indulge in some self-evaluation, I would characterise myself as a friendly, cheerful, social butterfly

Bottling up my sadness, grief and emotion caused my anxiety to grow – No...

The days are warm and Kilkenny is bustling with a mixture of tourists and everyone on holidays from school or college

How writing down my thoughts helped me renew myself after my son’s suicide

I remember receiving my first diary. It had a green plastic cover that felt smooth to the touch as it wrapped around the pages

1 year on from my cancer diagnosis – 11 powerful things I’ve learned

A year of your life to save your life…You hear that statement quite often at the beginning, just after you get the diagnosis

Running through the fear of a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis

Running towards the German parliament – or the Reichstag – I knew what lay around the next turn

Anxiety – my greatest ally in life

Anxiety: It’s all about perspective. My anxiety made me quit my job. Most people will perceive this as a negative statement. Reactions such as “The poor girl, that’s awful” come to mind

The chaos and the calm

When a tsunami of anxiety is washing over you, you wonder: “Why is this happening again?” A late morning turns into a missed day

If you are thinking of suicide, please talk to someone. It saved my life.

I am a 31 year old man who has and does occasionally still suffer from depression. I would first start out by saying that I had a great childhood with a loving family

Self-destructive behaviour and distractions did not help my depression – Talking did

Four years into my depression I could write a book on self-destructive behaviour, for now I suppose I’ll settle for an article!