Wednesday 26 September 2018

Damian Dempsey spoke movingly about struggle with the 'black dog' and catharsis of crying on Tommy Tiernan Show

Damien Dempsey on The Tommy Tiernan Show, RTE One.
Damien Dempsey on The Tommy Tiernan Show, RTE One.
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Tommy Tiernan ended an excellent run of his chat show with a frank interview with Damien Dempsey on Wednesday night.

Musician Dempsey has been open about his struggle with depression, as has comedian Tiernan, and they spoke about how they both cope with the lows.

He also spoke about trying a drug he called 'skunk' and revealed how its negative effect on him almost resulted in him cancelling his upcoming tour.

In the last episode of the series in which Tiernan has been surprised by guests in studio on the night, Dempsey gave a very honest and open interview.  He revealed that music is "all about healing" for him and he finds it "meditative".

Tommy Tiernan and Damien Dempsey on The Tommy Tiernan Show
Tommy Tiernan and Damien Dempsey on The Tommy Tiernan Show

"When people are singing they're not thinking about anything, any trouble or shite in their life," he said.  "It's like when you have people laughing.  It's the same thing."

Speaking about growing up in Donaghmeade in the 80s he said there was high unemployment, kids hanging around, and a lot of fathers out of work.

"When I got a guitar I was a target then," he revealed.  "I had to be able to handle myself.  Walking through a gang of 20 kids on the corner with a guitar.  I was a target and chased up and down the place, slapped around."

Of his depression, he said he gets "the aul black dog" and asked Tiernan how he copes with it, to which Tiernan quipped, "I take it for a walk" before adding that he's "not sure he does" cope with it.

"I take it in the heart and you just hope other people don't suffer from your moods."

Dempsey revealed he has "found lots of little tricks" to cope including swimming in the sea, yoga, and mediation.

He admitted he has dabbled with drink and drugs.

"It's really bad," he says of the drug scene in Ireland now.  "A lot of the kids smoking around the country now are smoking this stuff they think is grass and it's not... skunk, a hybrid of stuff and it's being sprayed with all sorts of stuff."

He revealed that in order to be able to talk to kids about it he need to try it and "had about two drags" about two months ago.

"My God I was like that [curled up with his head in his arms and rocking back and forth] in a corner [thinking] jaysus I'm the worst man in the world, me music is s***, I'm a chancer.

"I was just about to go to Singapore and Australia.  I was so stoked, I couldn't wait to get there and wreck the stage and get the whole crowd signing and blow the roof off the place and two drags off this and I was nearly going to pull the tour.

"It turned me brain in on me, me thoughts started attacking me.  My God, there's teenagers smoking this."

Dempsey revealed he cries a "good bit" and shared a story about taking a young brother of his friend's up the hill in Howth to help him to see past life taking drugs.  He said the text of thanks his mate sent him the next day made him cry.

You can watch the full interview on the RTE Player.

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