Lads don’t talk about serious stuff, not really. We’ll slag each other’s ma, chat about football, who we think’s fit, who we pulled at the weekend and who we didn’t, our hangover the morning after. When you put it like that, the life of a young lad is an absolute piece of piss. But, I’m going to break the mould, I’m going to talk about something serious, and I don’t intend on buttering it up with language expected of a dissertation. This is me, talking to any lads (or girls) who take the time to read what I’m about to spew out in as few words as I can, and if it helps one person, that’s a success. Here’s the thing, it ok to talk about something that’s eating away at you, that horrible word that gets thrown around like a carton of milk in the school yard… depression.
I don’t actually remember when it started, when I first felt like shit that is. If you did, you might realise that there is something wrong, but it creeps up, and you feel like this is how you have always felt. You don’t belong in anyone’s company, you don’t care about anything, but at the same time, every little thing eats away at you. You don’t feel one emotion; you feel the entire spectrum of emotions at the same time, all the time. Your head is an emotional shit show, and don’t those closest to you know it. They are the ones you fight with, while you meet your mates and keep chatting about football, chicks and beer, as if there isn’t a thing out of the ordinary. It annoys you that you are fighting with your family and you don’t know why you said them horrible things, like, my sister’s not really a cunt, but something in my head wanted to tell her that she was. Concentration levels aren’t even a thing anymore, and maybe I’m imagining it, but I feel like I’ve the memory of a gold fish. Even trying to put this into words now is difficult, but if you feel in anyway like I have described, you aren’t alone. One in seven young lads aged between 16 and 24 experience depression or anxiety each year. I was lucky enough to be diagnosed with both, and there are many of us lads in the same boat.
Final year of university was undoubtedly the best year of my life, met people I now call my best mates, graduated, had a job lined up, what more could you ask for? But, for such a good year, I continuously questioned my own life, what was the point, why was I still here? I had these thoughts regularly, and they annoyed the fuck out of me, because I had a tight group of mates and really close family, but yet, I couldn’t answer these questions, and I didn’t know why I was still here, and being unable to answer this would wind me up into a state of pure anger. Suicidal almost. This continued for over a year.
I started my job, travelling to and from Dublin on a daily basis. My opinion of work was like my opinion of everything else at this stage, purely indifferent. I didn’t care about the job. I didn’t care about the commute. I didn’t care that I wasn’t seeing my mates. I didn’t give a flying fuck about almost anything. Arguments were becoming more frequent at home. I was isolating myself. I thought meeting up with people would help, but then I didn’t feel welcome in their company, not because they said anything, or behaved in a particular way, I just didn’t. Then I would leave, and isolate myself further, removing myself from group chats etc. Then I would feel unwanted, and start looking for attention, and it became a vicious cycle. Generally the only way to overcome this was anger, and punching something really fucking hard. My knuckles had a rough few years.
On the train home, after yet another indifferent days work, I started crying my eyes out. This was a first. I didn’t know what for. There was no reason, but it was at this point that I could admit to myself that my head was fried. There was something wrong. But who wants to admit they’ve depression? I didn’t even know that’s what I had after all. But after crying from Dublin to Drogheda for no fucking reason, I decided to pick the phone up and call my best mate. Best thing I’ve ever done. Told him that I thought I had depression, and that my head was all over the show. He told me his aunt had suffered from depression and maybe I should talk to her. In hindsight I should have, but the feeling of getting this off my chest gave me such a sense of relief that I felt I was cured. All my problems had gone away. They hadn’t. They came back like a tonne of bricks crashing on top of me.
This led to the Hiroshima of fights in the house. But in a way, I have to be glad this fight happened as when it reached its worst, I had to admit to my family that there was something wrong. I couldn’t keep fighting with them like this as it wasn’t their fault my head was fried. That sense of relief from when I told my mate came back, and again I felt so much better. This was a sign that talking about it was definitely a step in the right direction. My mum made me an appointment with the doctor, I went, we chat shit, pretty much what I’m only after coughing up here, and he told me… “You have anxiety and depression.”
Hearing these words didn’t come as a shock. Depression has this way of letting you know you are depressed the whole time, but not letting you realise. It’s every bit as confusing as it sounds. But although I had yet to start any treatment, I could sense a start of closure. I was prescribed meds, which I continue to take. Don’t attach a stigma to antidepressants. They aren’t the devil that people lead you to believe. There are medicines for all illnesses, why should depression be any different? Though what I will admit, this medicine isn’t like Paracetamol for a sore head. It has a different way of reacting with everyone (apparently). For me, I felt great for a month or two, as good as I could remember. But then came a plateau, and I came crashing back down to the lowest point in my life, culminating in me trying to kill myself. Shit craic. But when I came out of this slump, I knew what it was this time. I knew it was my depression being a cunt again. This wasn’t me. This wasn’t the Adam that I used to be, and I was going to do all I could to get him back. So I returned to the doctors, I became absolutely addicted to running, remembered how much I bloody loved techno and tried to get everything back on track. I set myself targets. I wanted to run 10ks in the best time I possibly could and above all, I wanted to throw a banging rave.
I’ve continued with my medication for almost 8 months now. They’ve undoubtedly helped. Being open about what I’ve gone through, that’s helped. Music. That really helped. I want to apologise for how much I’ve littered your Facebook feeds with Clockwork, but what Clockwork was and is to me, is a project for when my head feels a bit shit, allows me to concentrate on something else. More than that, it has allowed me to meet some great people with similar interests, and again, I feel like I belong in those people’s company.
I could write about this all day, and there are many aspects I could have gone into a lot deeper, but I don’t want to bore anyone. Ultimately, my message is this: If you feel down, talk to someone about it; a problem shared is a problem halved. If your mate comes to you feeling down, listen to him. Offer what advice you can, and if you feel you know someone better equipped to give advice, take them. Mental illness needs to stop being brushed under the carpet. If only more people would hide the fact they had the bloody cold.