Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has won widespread praise for revealing his battles with anxiety and depression, writes Daniel McConnell of the Irish Examiner.
Among those to lavish praise on his courage in speaking out today was Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, who described Mr Troy as “brave and honest”.
In an article, Mr Troy detailed his own issues with his condition saying he was reluctant to speak out as politicians are supposed to be resilient “go-to people”.
He wrote: “This week after announcing €12m cuts in mental health service, the Government made time available to make statement on Mental Health in the Dáil. Having considered speaking on the issue I decided to share some real life experience.
“I was scared, nervous and anxious about the prospect of speaking out in front of my peers knowing that they would all know my weaknesses and sufferings,” he added.
“I suffer from anxiety and at times minor depression. I find it crippling and all consuming and it makes the smallest challenge seem like an impossible high jump that will ultimately destabilise me. However I crashed hard after the high of the election and I am now struggling to get back my balance since that day,” he wrote with admirable candour in a piece for TheJournal.ie.
“I have been forced to deal with things that I ignored and in the absence of other parts of my life I placed politics, maybe to fill voids … maybe in a misjudged pursuit of happiness,” he concluded.
He spoke too about getting help.
“What became increasingly apparent to me over the last number of months, as I sought professional help, is the inaccessibility of the crucial services to people who can’t afford private treatment. I can’t imagine feeling so low and alone and not being able to access help. I can’t imagine how you can even begin to gain the strength to deal with these feelings without the right help,” he wrote.
The article received a huge reaction online in the wake of its publication.
One well known Independent Fingal County Councillor, Dr Justin Sinnott, commended Mr Troy's honesty in speaking out about his battles with anxiety and depression.
“Powerful piece from Robert Troy. Very open, brave and honest,” tweeted Dr Sinnott.
Mr Troy, who is from Ballynacargy, County Westmeath, bucked the national trend in 2011 to be elected in the Longford-Westmeath constituency. He was appointed Childrens' spokesman for the party by his leader Micheál Martin.