Are you having a laugh?!
This time last year I buried one of my best pals due to cancer; I’d been very much involved in the end of her journey. About six weeks after that, my brother died as well and I buried him in January. Then we went into lockdown with the four of us in a tiny apartment in Temple Bar. Then in May another good pal of mine passed away. That was like the final piece that made me go, “This fucking year can’t get any worse, are you having a laugh?!” I was very surprised about how impacted I was mentally, I was hugely emotional obviously.
Netflix >>Watch Video>>
First lockdown was like, “It’s out of your hands, it’s beyond your control”, and honestly at the start of lockdown I really felt like I needed the time to grieve and absorb everything I was going through and I just felt so emotionally exhausted that I kind of thought, “Yeah it’s grand, I’ll just stay in bed and watch Netflix for a while”, but as you know yourself, that can be exhausting in itself as well, just the lack of movement; the lack of contact.
A catalyst >>Watch Video>>
I’ve been in therapy for about three years and honestly it’s the best that I ever did and I don’t know how anybody in their 30s who’s experienced trauma isn’t in therapy. I think the chances are if you’ve had trauma in your life and you’ve had a hard time and you’re not in therapy and you’re in your 30s… the chances are that you’re making someone else’s life really difficult. That was a catalyst for me: to not have anyone else deal with my past pain/traumas.
How long is this going to take?
When you go to therapy first, you’re just like, “How long is this going to take?” and “ugh can you just give me the answers?” and then when you find yourself getting to a stage when you can actually articulate how you feel and you have words for all of your emotions you realise that’s a result of the work you’ve put in.
My therapist, Sarah, is awesome, I really like her. She doesn’t present anything to me in a way that I can’t handle. She doesn’t challenge me in a way that I’m not able for, I really like the trust between us and I love the way she guides me into things and I’m not afraid of her.
I can’t begin to describe how grateful I am for meeting Sarah. I initially went very wounded and I went with all my pain in my hands to hand over to someone. I can imagine some people go very guarded and don’t know why they’re there and that can be harder; breaking down those walls.
Sometimes it’s easier for us to take on someone else’s pain and hurt than deal with our own. For me it was a very painful breakup three years ago. I realised early on that I had a penchant for a lame dog and I wanted to heal the lame dog and I thought that if I healed the lame dog that he would stay forever and never leave and he’d be so grateful that I fixed him. But when you do start going to therapy and you’re taking care of your own shit, you’ve very little time for stuff that’s being left at your door.
How can I stop in a healthy way?
I just feel like therapy should be a civilian thing that everyone’s obliged to do. If we did that you’d catch people about to do some very crazy things. If you just create a space for people to actually ask themselves how they’re doing because I don’t think people ask themselves questions like: Why am I feeling these feelings? How can I stop in a healthy way?
Everybody knows their darknesses >>Watch Video>>
I think people think they’re going to go in there and they’re going to hear really negative things about themselves. Everyone knows their things, everyone knows their darknesses, everyone knows their weaknesses, everyone knows their tricks that they play; tricking themselves or tricking people away from asking certain things.
I think people feel that if they go in there, a therapist might call them out straight away on their shit but it’s really not like that. A really good one will just listen and they’ll hear the things that you’re bringing up the most and they’ll know how to take things.
Ugly feelings >>Watch Video>>
Counselling is for everybody, if people want to be a better partner, or a better mother, or a better sister… you have to do a bit of work, you have to be a bit responsible. If there’s pain in your life you have to find out what’s causing you the pain. You are going to have to sit with some really ugly feelings but you move through it and the power you feel from being able to move through really ugly, painful things is huge and that power builds you for the rest of your life; it’s life learning.
Rolling their eyes
I feel if you are just saying “I don’t want to go” or ”I don’t want to find out things”, then you’re not ready. Or if you’re going looking for a quick fix, then you’re not ready. But then they have to appreciate that people are not ready to keep listening to you saying the same thing and being in the same pattern because that’s what happens.
Own your own shit >>Watch Video>>
We sit in these patterns and they get boring and tedious and eventually you find your friends rolling their eyes and they don’t want to hear you anymore, they don’t want to listen to the talk about the bloke they knew was gonna leave you anyway and it’s exhausting for them, and it’s exhausting for your families, you have to own your shit.
You can’t change what you won’t acknowledge. If you don’t go to counselling to deal with your pain or trauma, be prepared to lose the counsel of your friends and family because it gets really tiresome when you’re on the run from something and you’re asking people to be on the run from it with you.
Mainly what I would just say to people who are dealing with pain or trauma is just go to counselling, what have you got to lose? The things you learn about yourself are much more rewarding and there are many more positive things that you learn about yourself than the things that you learn you need to change and I promise people that. So many of us are textbook – the pain, the hurt, the places that people come from. We’re all the same humans and pain and trauma alter us in the same ways just via different avenues.
It’s very hard to understand why you’re doing it at the start but then when you realise the payoff from the work that you’re doing, it’s huge, it’s huge.
I felt relieved feeling that there were more people in the world that were behaving in this way: getting stuck in loops. Like asking yourself, “What if I did this? What if I did that? Or I should have done this”. That self flagellation – that requires help. You need someone to check in with and they have to go, “Stop it, stop doing that, be kind to yourself, you couldn’t have known” or “you did your best”, or “no-one blames you”. You just need someone, a professional, to tell you in a really instructive way how to stop going into that loop.
I miss dancing >>Watch Video>>
Not being able to dance is fucking huge for me and it’s the thing that people say to me the most this year. It’s just like, “Jesus Christ I miss dancing”. They say it way more than, “Jesus I miss the pub, or I miss pints”. Somebody says that to me every day, “Fuck me I miss dancing so much”. That’s fundamental to some people; that kicking back, that shedding the skin, that sort of moving yourself out of anxiety, it’s huge for people. That’s another thing that I think is a thing that people have to do, it’s a way of minding yourself or letting go of things; literally shaking it off.
When I started DJing
I remember when I started DJing how I used to get really nervous, I just thought that everything was watching me and waiting for me to make mistakes. It took me years and years and years to realise that I had to try and not look so nervous.
One of the ways that I would try and move through nervousness and anxiety and mortification is that I would just physically dance to the track that I was playing so that it made me look like I knew what I was doing. It makes you look like you’re being confident but I also think the physical movement actually moves the anxiety and the stress out of your body. That really was something that actually helped me hugely to not be so self-conscious about what I was doing – being so self conscious and being on display – so I can imagine that everyone has an element of that.
Jesus Christ how much more will we appreciate dancing and DJs when we do get back.
Remember, if you’re a member of the Irish music industry, you can talk to a counsellor free of charge at any time of the day or night. Simply call the phone number below.