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breakdown Charlene McKenna opens up to Tommy Tiernan on mental health struggles

I'd done too much, too soon, too fast, too much pressure on myself’


Charlene McKenna

Charlene McKenna

Charlene McKenna

Charlene McKenna has opened up about a time when she struggled with her mental health and how she sought help.

The actor appeared on the Tommy Tiernan Show on Saturday night and talked about her family, her career and her mental health.

"I had a big breakdown in '09, twelve years ago. I really felt that the darkness took over,” she said.

"The head went, and it hurt, and everything hurt and I got scared of everything. Now looking back, I know what happened. I'd done too much, too soon, too fast, too much pressure on myself.”

"I went home, and I just fell apart... My mind was racing, with mad, various, awful, everything, nothing thoughts and it's racing and I can't sleep. But I didn't know what anxiety was, I didn't know any of these words."

The Monaghan native said she eventually sought help from a friend with a background in psychology, she said: "That got me started, that got me on the road to therapy."

The 37-year-old also spoke about being the only girl in her family and growing up with five older brothers.

“I was adored, and I had footballs kicked at my head at the same time, it was a very interesting celebrated and humbled at the exact same time,” she said.

“It was uproar when I was born, apparently it went round the school bus, it went all around Monaghan town, that the McKenna's had a girl after all the boys.”

“I had to live up to expectations. I was totally spoiled.”

“Daddy was amazing I have to say, for a man of his, not to diminish his anything but for a man of a certain age, very rural Ireland background, he was a real feminist.”

“I was taught at 16 how to lay floors, wooden floors, I was taught all that stuff. I was picking the mushrooms with them, I was doing everything. It was fairly even, and it made me fairly handy.”

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