Blindboy Boatclub has opened up about how he deals with anxiety in his daily life and credits cognitive behavioural therapy with giving him the skills to cope.
Speaking on the Ryan Tubridy Show this morning, Blindboy thanked the counsellors in his college for allowing him to address his mental health issues.
His issues with anxiety began when he was around 18 or 19 which he says is "a very common age for mental health issues to pop up in anyone, it’s the most common age".
As he entered college and took the first steps into adulthood, Blindboy began to feel anxious and this developed into agoraphobia and severe depression.
"I was very fortunate that I was in college and when you are in college you can access counsellors," he explained.
"That’s one of the good things about being in college because that’s very difficult if you’re not in college because you would have to pay for it and I wouldn’t have been able to afford it."
Blindboy says that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has helped him learn how to deal with his anxiety but says that it does not work for everybody.
CBT has given him the tools he needs to identify the negative thoughts, challenge them and replace them with more rational thought.
It is something he does every day and it has become part of his daily routine.
"It’s like I’ve got a garden and I’m tending it all the time, I don’t let it grow over, and then have to go out there with a chainsaw," he explains.
He clarifies that what he has dealt with is a mental health issue and not a mental illness.
Blindboy had not set out to be an advocate for mental health when he began the Rubber Bandits at the age of 15 but his interest in the subject was always there.
When the Horse Outside phenomenon shot them into the mainstream, he was beginning to learn about psychology.
However, he says that because what Rubber Bandits were doing at the time was so "nuts" there would have been too much of a gulf to try to speak out about mental health at that time.
Despite being a respected voice in the discussion of mental health in Ireland, there are still people who say that they cannot take him seriously as he has a plastic bag on his head.
WHY DO I WEAR A PLASTIC BAG? From The Blindboy Podcast. Every Wednesday. Listen for free on all podcast apps. Please Subscribe and Review pic.twitter.com/FRN5CCX8e8— The Blindboy Podcast (@Rubberbandits) November 16, 2017
As someone who has dealt with anxiety and agoraphobia, the reason for the bag is privacy.
"I’d rather just be on the level and be anonymous and live a normal life and go into Tesco and buy toilet roll and no one knows who I am, or even get into an argument with the manager about... carrots you know? I couldn’t do that if I was you," he tells Ryan.
Having already made his mark in music, comedy and short stories, Blindboy has recently started a podcast series - The Blindboy Podcast.
iTunes didn't upload this weeks description properly. Now it looks like the whole podcast is about Essential Turkish Taint, and this weeks guest is H from Steps. pic.twitter.com/A5afmc4Ilu— The Blindboy Podcast (@Rubberbandits) November 22, 2017
In an episode, Ryan recalls that Conor McGregor was called out for his recent behaviour.
Blindboy explains his reason for addressing the controversial incident, saying: "I didn’t like the homophobic remarks he made, I didn’t like the context and intent he used in them.
"And I also didn’t like when he slapped that referee there a couple of weeks ago. Someone needs to sit him down, he needs to humble himself."
Despite criticising McGregor’s recent behaviour, he says that he can still respect what the MMA fighter has achieved in his career.
In recent months, a number of celebrities have faced backlash and boycotts as a result of accusations about indecent behaviour and this has led many people to debate whether you can separate art from the artist.
Blindboy offered his own view saying that while such detestable behaviour needs to be reprimanded, the person in question should not lose their value as "that is a form of dehumanisation".
He believes that this approach allows the person to change and grow in the future.
You can listen to the full interview below.