Friday 15 December 2017

Brendan O'Connor: Celtic goddess who could be a heroine to all of us

Ashling Thompson is that rare thing, says Brendan O'Connor, someone who young people might actually listen to about mental health matters

Liberty Insurance Camogie Championship Launch, Croke Park, Dublin 11/6/2015
Liberty Insurance Camogie Championship Launch, Croke Park, Dublin 11/6/2015
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

I barely had time to finish speaking to Ashling Thompson on the radio during the week before she broke down sobbing.

They weren't, she assured us, sad tears. Neither were they quite tears of joy. But they were, you felt, cathartic. Not that Ashling is upset by telling her story. She has told it before and she will again. Talking and telling her story is clearly something that helps Ashling Thompson to be free. Even if it moves her to tears sometimes to go back to her low point. But it would be a mistake to think that she is one of the new breed of emotionally incontinent young people who make a drama out of everything.

Ashling Thompson is tough. And when, as a younger woman, she encountered problems, her response was to bury them, to tough it out, to shut people out. Counselling didn't work for her because she couldn't handle all that soft talking. She thought she wanted to be pushed and kicked out of the hole she was in, coached out of it with tough love, and in a sense she was. Touchy-feely was not the answer to Ashling's problems

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