'I realised you can't always dwell on the negative'

Farm contractor Andy Nolan's sought help after battling with depression in his 20s, writes Claire Fox

Social media: 'There’s such stigma there and I thought if the video could help at least one person, then it would be worth it,' says Andy Nolan, photographed on his farm in Luggacurren, Co Laois. Photo: Alf Harvey
Social media: 'There’s such stigma there and I thought if the video could help at least one person, then it would be worth it,' says Andy Nolan, photographed on his farm in Luggacurren, Co Laois. Photo: Alf Harvey
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Feelings of worthlessness and no confidence that plagued farm contractor and Macra member Andy Nolan from Luggacurren, Co Laois through most of his 20s culminated in the young man's battle with depression coming to a head last year.

Following a break-up three years ago, Andy says that he became a social recluse and began avoiding people, throwing himself into his work.

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"I had a feeling of being in bad form and not able to shake it off. I felt like a burden to people and just worked all the time. The only time I wasn't working was when I went to Mass on a Sunday," says Andy.

"I used to sit in my car and dread going in to work. I really had no confidence."

With his feelings of despair growing and growing, Andy realised last November that he needed to get help and decided to go for counselling.

"I realised that I couldn't go on the way I was going. I knew I needed help."

After trying out a couple of different counsellors, Andy slowly began to feel more himself.

"The counsellor said to me you've a negative side and a positive side and that the negative side can win hands down without any help and that you need to work hard on maintaining your positive side," says Andy, who successfully completed his Green Cert last year.

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"I gradually realised that you need to be thankful for your family and friends and not always dwelling on the negative, this isn't easy to see when you're in the situation though."

Andy uploaded a video on his Facebook page in June, informing people of his own battle with depression and urged people who are feeling depressed or anxious to open up and talk.

"I wanted to show people that they can feel OK again. There's such stigma there and I thought if the video could help at least one person then it would be worth it.

"I also wanted people whose friends or family might have depression to realise how important it is for people to have someone to listen to them.

"People are sometimes afraid to ask how you are coping and sometimes when the question is asked, it can create an awkward moment which is gotten over with quickly. Friends don't have to have answers but just by them being there and listening is worth a million euro in the bank to a person."

As competition officer with East Laois, Macra member Andy adds that he has come out of his shell more and more. "There's a great network of people in the club and region," he says. "There's always something to get involved with."

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