I spoke with Daniel Coffey about his battle with depression. “There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, there were mornings when I woke up and I felt physically sick”
THEO MCDONALD 29/09/20
DANIEL COFFEY (20) is a journalism student in Rathmines College, also working part time in McDonald’s. In his spare time, he enjoys playing and watching football.
His passion for both football and journalism is evident from his YouTube channel where he uploads videos of his own analysis on matches involving Chelsea Football Club.
He also hosts a podcast referred to as ‘Dublin’s Finest Podcast’ where he discusses an array of topics. You can find his content here: https://youtu.be/Uq7lq3K2BXE
Late last year however, Daniel was diagnosed with depression. This diagnosis provided an explanation for hitherto recurring feelings that engulfed his psyche from an early age.
“I’ve never felt happy in my own skin, I always felt inadequate,” Daniel told me adding, that these feelings were with him from a very young age and persisted into young adulthood.
He described how in primary school he had trouble making friends, with the friends he did make tending to “drift away” – “I would always take it personally as though they left me for a reason.”
This was the beginning of what became a serious dilemma –questioning his own character and worth in life. At such an early age he was pondering whether there was something wrong with him. ‘Did I do something wrong?’ he would often ask himself.
Adding to his adolescent feelings of despair and loneliness was the divorce of his parents. “I’m very close with my dad, we share common interests such as support for Chelsea among other things but because he lives in the UK, we rarely see each other.”
Unable to spend enough time with his father, who he considered a friend was deeply traumatic for him.
Intense feelings of depression really started to take hold in late February, early March of 2018. This was around the time that Daniel was sitting his leaving certificate examinations. “I’m not the most academically gifted,” he said.
In the end, he sat the exams and subsequently entered college. The interval from the summer of 2018 to September of that year are described by Daniel as providing a glimmer of hope. With school ending a new chapter beyond school was taking hold in his life.
Alas, the end of the summer saw his mental health quickly revert back to a familiar mindset of inadequacy and doubt in his own abilities and standing in life. The following year is when Daniel “hit rock bottom.”
Feelings of worthlessness and notions of being an outcast that he had experienced from a very young age grew at an immense pace when a relationship he had been in came to an unexpected end.
“There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, there were mornings when I woke up and I felt physically sick,” adding that “all the activities that I used to enjoy like playing football, playing golf, watching movies, going to the gym became a chore.”
“All I wanted to do was sit down and contemplate life.”
Anyone who has experienced depression understands this dilemma well he said. In the past, Daniel learnt to cope with the negative feelings that pestered him day in and day out, but this time he was contemplating suicidal thoughts.
“There was not a day that went by for months and months on end that I did not think about suicide... that maybe the world would be a better place without me.”
On March 12, 2019 Daniel attempted to take his own life. He is not open about how he went about this, but the attempt thankfully failed.
“It really put things into perspective, it made me realise how precious life is and how we only get one shot at it”. Following this, he was prescribed antidepressants and stopped taking them around this time last year.
While maintaining that he has not fully recovered from depression, he knows now that depression must not win so to speak.
“Depression is something that people around the world don’t truly understand, it is something that is very hard to grasp looking from the outside in.”
“If I were to choose an illness, I would choose something that people would believe,” adding that “just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”
He also outlined the ways in which depression can alter your personality, turning you into a different person making it all the more difficult to seek or get help from others.
“There were days where I would resent everyone and didn’t want to engage with or even look at anyone, people with depression should negate these feelings of isolation because there is always someone out there who wants to help.”
If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or other mental health issues, visit PIETA House here: https://www.pieta.ie
Daniel pleaded with all those suffering from depression and other mental health issues to contact organisations like PIETA House and engage with counsellors and psychiatrists who can guide you through the difficult path that may lie ahead. Daniel concluded our conversation on a somber note: “Life is so precious and we cannot give up on it that easily.”