I would wake up in the morning and go through the day forcing myself to look okay

“I’ve done a lot of fundraising comedy gigs for Pieta House in the past and I was aware of what they do but I didn’t really understand the importance of their work until about a year ago. I didn’t really understand what I was feeling; I was just continuously down for days without any real reason. I would wake up in the morning and go through the day forcing myself to look okay, but every now and then, I would have one of these attacks… at the time I thought I was having some sort of mental breakdown, which made everything worse. I had to wear a mask and pretend I was okay for months. I remember going to a gig with PJ Gallagher, we were performing together in Roscommon. We were in the car and PJ realised that I was very quiet. He asked me if I was okay? I said ‘yeah, yeah’ at first, but then I thought he’s a great friend of mine so maybe I should talk about it with him. So I said, ‘Look I need to tell you something. I don’t feel well; I don’t really know what is going on, I think I’m having some sort of a breakdown’. I tried to explain how I felt and suddenly he started to laugh. I said, ‘What are you laughing for?’ He said, ‘Man, you are not having a breakdown you are having anxiety attacks. I have it as well sometimes, just like hundreds of others’. As soon as I got home, I sat in front of the computer all night researching what anxiety attacks are… When I saw that the symptoms matched, it was almost a relief to find out I wasn’t crazy. A few days later I was brave enough to go to the doctor. I still have them, but I am aware of it and I am able to manage it, and if I need, I can ask for help. I can’t tell you how important it is to keep repeating this cliché: Ask people if they are okay, with real interest and if you don’t feel okay, tell the truth! Simple.”

Actor and comedian Eric Lalor will walk from Darkness Into Light with Pieta House this year. Darkness Into Light 2018 takes place across the country on Saturday, May 12th at 4.15am and is proudly supported by Electric Ireland.

Find your local venue and register for Darkness Into Light by visiting www.darknessintolight.ie Every registration or donation makes a huge difference to the vital work Pieta House does around Ireland.

This series continues on Electric Ireland, make sure to check it out.

If you or a loved one need help or someone to talk with, call Pieta House on the Freephone number 1800 247 247.