Wednesday 7 December 2016

Comedian Joe Rooney opens up about his struggle with mental health - 'I gave up my job so I could just stay inside'

Published 07/01/2016 | 10:15

Joe Rooney spoke openly about his struggle with mental health. Photo: joerooneycomedian.com
Joe Rooney spoke openly about his struggle with mental health. Photo: joerooneycomedian.com
Comedian Joe Rooney

Joe Rooney has opened up about his struggle with crippling panic attacks which almost cost him his career in Irish comedy.

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The comedic actor, who has starred in Killinaskully and Father Ted revealed that he has struggled with agoraphobia (a fear of the outdoors) in the past, which has hampered some career opportunities.

Speaking to Jarlath Regan's 'The Irishman Abroad', Rooney revealed that his struggle with mental health became in his mid-twenties when the band he had pinned his hopes on disintegrated.

“I had my first mental breakdown at around 25 when the band broke up,” he said.

“I started having panic attacks and everything because I realised that I was 25 and I’d pinned my hopes on this band thing.

“Although I was working in a sandwich shop at the time, some part of me thought, ‘It’s going to happen’.

“We’d released a few singles. I was working in a sandwich bar but I was in a band. Then the band is gone and I’m this guy working in a sandwich bar and I’m 25.”

The actor revealed that his battle with panic attacks has been a struggle throughout his life and admitted that they caused him to develop a fear of interacting outside his home.

“Then I became agoraphobic. I gave up my job so I could just stay in,” he said.

“If I was walking down the street suddenly this would come on me and I’d feel like I’d have to walk beside the buildings or beside a wall. I don’t know what it was. I couldn’t stand being outside.”

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