Tag Archives: Garreth Macnamee


You may recall a post from earlier this year in which journalist Garreth MacNamee (above) wrote an open letter about his struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Garreth writes:

First thing’s first – I want to say I am still overwhelmed by the response to my blog ‘It’s okay not to be okay’. Anytime I’m down, I look at the thousands of comments left by well-wishers which pull me from the depths of hopelessness. But there was a secret I could not share with you all and this is what this blog post is all about…

For the next two weeks, over 10,000 people across Ireland are cycling against suicide in an attempt to destroy stigma and raise awareness of our nation’s most silent killer. I would have given anything to join them at the starting line in Dublin but I couldn’t. Instead, I was sitting in the defendant’s box in Court 14 in the Central Criminal Court in our capital. The charge – one count of arson. When I wrote my first blog on mental health, I wanted so much to go into the details of my own suicide attempt but I could not. I would have prejudiced my trial.

On the 30th April, 2011, I was living in the city centre with three pals. We were college students in DIT Aungier Street. Many Dubliners might recall a fire at my apartment. It was on Wexford Street opposite Whelan’s and The Village – regular haunts for those who live for the weekend. Eddie Rocket’s restaurant was directly underneath our flat. You might remember seeing smoke billowing out of the flat as the fire brigade rushed to the scene. And where was I at this moment? I was huddled in the corner of a box room crying after setting fire to the curtains and blocking the exit with my bed, a bookcase and anything I could get my hands on. As the blaze rose to meet me, I prayed I’d black out, hoping against hope the inferno would consume me and the darkness which had enveloped my consciousness would be gone forever.

But I escaped, screamed for my neighbours to get out and called the authorities. I collapsed nearby in a little alcove opposite Krystle Nightclub – a spot usually reserved for drunkards or over zealous couples. An ambulance arrived, picked me up and moved me to St James’ Hospital. Then I went to Vincent’s and finally to St John of God’s.
To this day I live with flashbacks, experience night terrors, firmly believing the same raging fire is chasing me as I go about my life. The reason I’m writing this is not to enter into the gory details of a suicide attempt, it’s what has happened since my release from hospital which is what I want to address.

A week after I left hospital, I walked into Harcourt Terrace Garda Station and told the stunned detectives what had happened. They were, and still are, two of the most caring and sympathetic people I have ever encountered and I will be eternally grateful to them for how they handled my case. There had been a second fire in the complex and my conscience would not allow an innocent person bite the bullet for two fires. I had to do the right thing. Sometimes, I wish I hadn’t.Continue reading →


Garreth MacNamee (above) writes

In June 2011, I walked out of hospital after a suicide attempt and I haven’t looked back. I still remember how that day looked. It was a beautiful June afternoon, the sun belted down on my mam’s car and I took one final look at St John of God’s in Stillorgan, Co Dublin – a place which had become my home for over a month. That was a week before my 22nd birthday.

I walked back into college with my head held high, spent two more years working on my journalism degree and strutted out with one of the highest marks handed out that year. Less than a week after finishing my studies and I was working for a national newspaper. For the first time in my life I felt proud of myself, I was successful.

Fast forward nearly 19 months and here I am contemplating taking my own life again. I don’t know how I got here but here I am. I have everything anyone could ask for – great friends, a wonderfully supportive family, the respect of this industry I’m in, a penthouse apartment in Dun Laoghaire [Co Dublin], iPad, iPhone, new car and and what should look like a bright future.

But I can’t see that – all I can feel is how sweet and peaceful death would be right now. The balcony 10 feet behind me seems more tempting than taking a shower in the morning, than walking into work with an exclusive under my arm or texting the girl I’m currently seeing. My role in life has always been to make others feel happy. I’m the joker, the friend, the pal who’d never see you stuck. I’m that sad clown, a cliche wrapped in another fucking cliche, sitting in a living room typing in the dark.

Continue reading →