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PJ Gallagher says he feared losing his job when he was ‘severely mentally ill’

‘It progressively got worse and worse to the point that psychiatrists were on the phone every two days saying, ‘you're just going to have to get into hospital'

PJ Gallagher

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Radio star PJ Gallagher has admitted he worried about losing his job when he became “severely mentally ill” last year.

The comedian has been candid about his struggles and the 11 weeks he spent receiving treatment in St Patrick’s mental health facility in Dublin last summer.

He has now told The Six O’Clock Show that his mental health “just started going downhill rapidly”.

“I did the sort of man thing of, ‘It’ll be grand’, ‘I’ll be alright’ and ‘If you can just get through this week or month’.”

But the Radio Nova presenter admitted: “It progressively got worse and worse to the point that psychiatrists were on the phone every two days saying 'You're just going to have to get into hospital'.

“We had tried so much at this point, I was on sedatives at this point and was really all over the place.

“And then it's hard to say but I had one moment where I thought 'I just literally can't take anymore'.”

The comedian said he told bosses at Radio Nova that he would be back to work in four weeks, but he stayed away for much longer.

"I went for 11 weeks, I thought I was going in for four,” he said.

“I was there with my boss, because I was just so afraid of losing my job. I went into Kevin in Nova and I was just like 'It's only four weeks, worse case scenario' and then I was ringing him at six going 'another two weeks' and it was another two and another two.”

He said Radio Nova stood by him throughout the treatment and that getting help was “the best thing” he’s ever done.

“Everyone is talking about mental health, like eat better food and go to the gym.

"My mental health wasn’t suffering, I was severely mentally ill. We don't talk about mental illness so much, it’s all about mental health,” he continued.

“I knew that none of these things that I was reading or hearing in the conversations were going to matter. I needed round the clock 24 hour care and that’s not something I’d heard."

He admitted “a lot of that conversation” delayed him seeking treatment.

"It was only when people said, 'no it's okay to be broken' that I was able to say, 'fine I’ll try get fixed'.”

The star has been open about his time at St Patrick’s Mental Hospital, recently taking to Twitter to talk about his journey.

"Today is one year exactly since I was admitted into St Pat’s with mental illness,” PJ revealed in December.

"This pic in Radio Nova was the last one taken before I went in. Absolutely torn up inside and scared out of my shite of what was gonna happen next.

"Today I’ve never felt better in my life,” he added.

"I’m far from a professional and I don’t have a lot of advice to give anyone. Also I was very privileged to even get into the hospital at all.

"All I’ll say is, no matter how bad you are, there is a road back.

"Don’t take no for an answer.”

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