They prescribed antidepressants and because nobody was monitoring my intake I started abusing them

“We moved around a lot when I was a kid but I spent most of my childhood in a small town in East Cork. Despite the fact that my father was a preacher and my mom was Argentinian, I figured that if I make people laugh I could drive the attention away from myself and not get bullied. I had double personalities from ever since I remember. I was a cool-wild kid on the streets and I was the holy kid at home. It was working out well until the day I turned 14 and my father got a job in Dublin. I was the new kid again and starting all over was a nightmare. Meanwhile, although I didn’t really get badly bullied I struggled to find my own identity. I was going to the extremes of everything within the teenage world to fit in. I started drinking to cope – an escape from the exhausting personalities I created. My parents didn’t know about the drinking so they took me to a doctor after I started having mood swings. They prescribed antidepressants and because nobody was monitoring my intake I started abusing them. Crushing them up and taking them with whiskey, like I had seen in a movie once. Figured out the right dose to get high. At my darkest, the pain was excruciating – an endless black hole inside, and I’m just falling and falling. Getting high was my only relief, but the highs were getting shorter. That’s when the urge to cut myself crept in. I was so suicidal, I ended up in a psychiatric ward. All because I had to wear masks. If I only had someone to talk to… Things might have been different. Years later A friend of mine had a slip with his addiction after he had been sober for a very long time. The feelings he described when he relapsed mirrored what I used to go through and the realisation of it sent me into a panic attack. It is still a daily challenge for me to cope, but I have found meditation and other healthier coping mechanisms like Comedy. Comedy has become very important to me. I learnt that I don’t have to go through this alone and no matter how bad it gets, there will always be a laughter.”

Stephen Mullan – Stand Up Comedian

Let’s open up about mental health together.

 This post was highlighted by @FirstFortnight.

Stephen brings his debut stand-up comedy hour to Smock Alley as part of First Fortnight European Art & Mental Health Festival, 1st – 5th January. Tickets are currently available