JOANNE O'RIORDAN: Conor Cusack shows it is brave for a man to show his feelings

DEPRESSION and mental health are in the news. With Galway hurler Niall Donoghue’s sad death, and Cork hurler Conor Cusack writing about his battle with depression, the GAA and the people of Ireland have been made more aware of depression.

Men hate talking about their feelings: it’s supposed to be unmanly, but that’s not the case. My father always joked ‘he hates seeing grown men cry’. I never thought about that statement, but now, with men’s mental health being discussed, I think the opposite to my dad.

It’s fine for men to cry. Yes, it might seem weird seeing a 6ft5” man sobbing in the corner, but it’s hard to keep in every emotion just because you want to look like ‘the big man’.

Men’s egos dictate that they must be ‘cool’ and ‘tough’ and full of ‘swag’, but if I saw a big man crying about something sensitive, even though my heart would break into a million pieces, I’d be one of many girls that would hug him.

Even when my friends are in horrific moods, I encourage them to talk to me. I tell them to ‘rant’ at me, because I love listening to people. I love hearing people’s stories and rants. I mightn’t say much, but I know they feel better because they have it off their chest.

I first heard about someone’s battle with depression when I was in Cavan, and Cavan goalkeeper Alan O’Mara spoke about his.

Even though I was sucking up to him, saying his speech was great, I genuinely meant it. It legit made me listen and rethink life. He showed every young person in that room that it was okay to feel sad, it was okay to have down days, and it was okay to talk.

Then, I heard about the death of Niall Donoghue and it again made rethink. Sometimes, you just have to remind yourself it’ll be okay. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but one day. Say it enough, so one day you’ll believe it. Remind yourself that things change.

These things change for a reason, people change for a reason. You just have to let go and move on. It’s going to be hard and you will feel lonely, but just hold on. Who’s going to say tomorrow won’t be the best day of your life?

Every time you’re feeling low or suicidal, just stop and think about you, your life, and all the things you can and will achieve. It might not be now, but in the future. The memories you build, the moments you share, are all in your grasp; sometimes, all you need to do is talk, rant, shout it from the roof-tops, but please don’t give up.


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