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Well done to Cork senior footballer Eoin Cadogan “Top GAA figures urge men to share problems” (Irish Examiner 30/10/13) for urging people in emotional distress “to realise that there was nothing wrong with ‘opening up’.
His comments come hot on the heels of former Cork hurler Conor Cusack’s (brother of former Cork goalkeeper Dónal Óg) excellent blog detailing his own battle with depression.
Conor had been through the psychiatric system and at one stage was on 18 tablets a day and his weight had ballooned to nearly 20 stone, often a side effect of taking medication.
The light at the end of the tunnel for him came when he met a clinical psychologist and there was an obvious meeting of minds. As he states in his blog “I instantly knew this was what I had been searching for.”
Reaching out for help is an important first step but the psychiatric system labels and drugs people, preferring to tell them they have a chemical imbalance.
My story, while different to Conor’s, has a lot of parallels. I was labelled as manic depressive at the age of 20, took medication for a number of years before like Conor I met someone, in my case Professor Ivor Browne, who I felt understood what was going on in my mind. He took me off the lithium I was told at the age of 20 I would be on for the rest of my life. That was over 20 years ago.
As Conor so eloquently says “everything you need to succeed is already within you and you have all the answers to your own issues. A good therapist will facilitate that process.”
Sometimes it can take a while for somebody to get the correct help and unfortunately one may have to go down the private route. But take it from me, the rewards are immense and no matter how dark a tunnel you may be in now, a light will shine. Just keep looking and do not give up.
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