Sunday 19 November 2017

Depression: 'That was a very lonely place, a very scary place'

Tom Lenihan is using his own experience of depression to help others in a similar situation

Tom Lenihan with his late father, Brian Lenihan.
Tom Lenihan with his late father, Brian Lenihan.
Tom Lenihan
Carol Hunt

Carol Hunt

Tom Lenihan is young, intelligent, popular and of good family. As the recently elected president of Trinity College's prestigious student union, he's taking a year out of his studies to work on behalf of his fellow students. At 22 years of age, he's tall and attractive, with – like his late father Brian – a charmingly warm manner.

So why is he sitting across from me trying to explain how it was that his teenage years were spent in misery; so much so that he constantly battled suicide ideation and, in one case, made a very serious attempt to take his own life?

"Mentally," he says, "as a young teen, I just felt very alone. I was ahead of my peers, physically I developed early, and I felt I couldn't relate to people, I had lots of friends but I had a darkness inside that I couldn't understand."

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