- 01 Oct 19
We invited a chorus of artists, writers, musicians, broadcasters, sports stars and more to contribute to Now We’re Talking, a mental health campaign, run in partnership with Lyons Tea and Pieta House.
We are told that men don’t talk about their problems and this frustrates me. How can we keep perpetuating this myth about one half of the population? Some men do talk and some men don’t. I’ve found that some men just don’t talk face to face. We might talk side by side, at the bar or even at work. I wrote a play a few years back called ‘Wet Paint’ about three painters and the battles they face in their heads. I didn’t realise it at the time but the subtext of the play was that I was really worried about a friend. My worries came out in this comedy and I didn’t even know it at the time. I guess this was my way of talking about it. In the last few years I’ve realised how important this issue is to me. I’ve started doing workshops in schools about mental health. We ask teenagers their thoughts on communication and we try to help them to be a bit more resilient in their own lives. It takes an hour and a half so its hard to get it into one little article but I’m really happy to be doing this. Funnily enough it makes me accountable, not just to myself but to the teenagers in the workshops ‘cause god knows they can smell bullshit a mile away! So here’s 4 things I do to be more resilient:
1. I keep lists
It might be as simple as “wash your face, brush your teeth, make your bed” but once you start ticking off your list you feel a bit better and that’s what it’s all about really. If I do those three things, I have accomplished three things before I’ve even taken a piss. Winning!
2. I exercise
If I go to the gym, I might feel bad during it or even sometimes after it but at least I’m feeling something and that might take me out of my head for a moment. Realistically, 9 times out of 10 I feel better, better than if I had 10 pints anyway.
3. I meet my friends
I moved to Dublin a few years ago and at the start it was very easy to go from one end of the week to the next without meeting a friend. So now, I make the phone calls and make the plans and meeting friends goes on my list (see above!).
I’ve found mindfulness quite helpful. I have an app on my phone, ‘Insight Timer’. There’s this Scottish fella on it and he ends each meditation by saying “mind yourself” in a thick Scottish accent. I can’t do the ten minute ones but I can definitely do the 3 or 5 minute ones. I also feel like I’ve achieved something by doing one or two of those a day. This helps me when I play someone like Billy Murphy. It’s hard to act like you’re kidnapping a bus load of people if you’re not in the moment. Mindfulness helps me with that.
Look, you can’t always be calm and confident but you can work at it, that’s the main thing. And you can’t always do these things by yourself so if you need help, ask for it. But make sure you go to the right people for help. You wouldn’t ask your four-year-old nephew for advice with your girlfriend or boyfriend, would you? And you wouldn’t go to the butcher for a haircut? I wouldn’t ask Billy Murphy for help, but if he asked me, I might be able to point him in the right direction.
•Shane plays Billy Murphy in ‘The Young Offenders’. He will be travelling the country in October with his play ‘Wet Paint’. Shane gives mental health and wellbeing workshops to secondary schools and colleges with Graffiti Theatre Company and the Abbey Theatre.
Now We're Talking 2019
A partnership between Lyons Tea, Pieta House & Hot Press.
Let’s break the stigma and take the dialogue about mental health issues onto a new level
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