Sharing Your Mental Health Story Online Is Not Mandatory

Don’t Share Your Mental Health Struggles With The World If You Don’t Want To

Image result for you don't owe anyone gif

I realise that a loudmouth yoke like me telling all and sundry this kind of thing is the height of unmitigated cheek, but sure lookit, who else is best placed to offer this wisdom? YOURS TRULY, THAT’S WHO.

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Adulthood: How Did I Get Here?


Same as it ever was…

I dunno about you lot, but even though I’ve been a legal adult since I was 18, I didn’t feel anywhere remotely NEAR the concept of adulthood until about 12 years later. And even then, I had everything completely arseways. Not much has changed in that regard, bless my cotton / lycra blend mismatched socks.

These days, as I stare down the rusty barrel of my late thirties, I can’t help but feel like there’s been some kind of terrible, irreversible mistake. I’m too young to be my age! I still eat cake for dinner sometimes, for feck sake.

I have my own apartment and I’m lucky enough to be able to live on my own, which is fantastic. Not least because I don’t have anyone in my immediate vicinity with whom to compare levels of maturity. I’d probably be a hell of a lot more put-together if I had a housemate, lest they find out how bad I am at Adulting and try to get the authorities involved. As it stands, when I think about how I live in an apartment by myself, it’s less Carrie Bradshaw in Sex And The City and more Kevin McAllister in Home Alone.

I worry that my failure to be good at regular, everyday Adulting will impact on future relationships – particular if, by some sort of cosmic miracle, I end pairing off with a mature responsible male who’s WAY better at being a grown-up than me. Highly unlikely, but if God ever fancied making my life into a sitcom, then this would be the way to do it. The only way I cope with being the actual age I am is to wear my adulthood as a disguise, to be removed once the need for doing grown-up stuff subsides.

So, yeah. To me, Adulting feels like an outer persona I adopt, like some sort of very immature, developmentally arrested not-so-superhero. Instead of rescuing damsels in distress, my adult alter-ego pops up to rescue me from homelessness and starvation by paying my rent and doing my Big Shop online. It also saves me from my fucked-up brain chemistry by obtaining my prescription and filling it faster than a speeding bullet – most of the time. I also have an inner arch-nemesis who attacks me on that front, but that’s another blog post for another day. I’m not gonna lie guys, it’s pretty busy in the Brain of J-Ro.

I’m so bad at doing the essential run-of-the-mill grown-up stuff, that when I have to dip my toes into that dark serious world, it feels like a fucking novelty. Going to the Post Office to post a letter or some sort of important paperwork on time gives me the kind of rush usually reserved for someone on a bag of yokes at a 3-day rave. Paying my rent on time makes me positively ecstatic. Who needs great sex when you can cast your eyes around a spotless kitchen that smells of synthetic lemon-scented antibacterial wipes? NOT ME. Walking into my bedroom at the end of a long day pretending to be responsible and capable in the world, only to find that while getting into character, Adult Jen had made the bed and fluffed my pillows, nearly made me faint with joy.

There is a lot of comfort in knowing that many of my friends are the exact same. There’s certain people in my life who have a WAY better adult outer persona than Yours Truly; some of them even have mortgages, kids and full-time jobs. To be fair, I’m only barely disguising my complete and utter ineptitude at dealing with grown-up stuff; my hobo soul and pie-in-the-sky dreams of being a published author mean there’s a limit as to how much I’m actually fooling anyone. But when I get together with these friends, it’s game over for Real Life. Remember that terrifying scene in the movie of The Witches when they all remove their disguises once the doors are locked to reveal their true horrendous selves? It’s kind of like that, but instead of peeling off faces, the geeky sci-fi t-shirts emerge, the makeup gets theatrical, the in-jokes from years back are recited, the workday alarms are turned off. It’s like we’re The Goonies, but now we have the financial means and the legal age to get away with all the mad shit we really wanted to do when we were younger. My friends are the best.

Just wanted to put this in because THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME

However, this doesn’t stop the sneaky feeling that one day the other shoe will drop, and the Adulting Police will find me. Some fuddy-duddy funsucker will dial the Confidential Anti-Craic Hotline, drop my name, then my days will be numbered. I’ll be in the middle of eating cold pizza for breakfast on a Thursday morning while nursing a bastard gin hangover, and they’ll come crashing through the door, armed with brochures for sensible savings plans and some beige tapered-leg slacks with an elasticated waistband. They will use the best of technology to remove all traces of irony from all the Adulting Things I’ve been doing so I do them pure seriously. Through re-education, they will turn me into someone who is Genuinely Concerned about things like sticking to my weekly unit allowance for alcohol, and if I’m getting enough Folic Acid in my diet.

That day may come, readers. But I’m not going down without a fight. There’s too much gin, too much future regret over sent messages, and too much tattoo ink left in the world for me to surrender just yet. So onward we march, all us adult-looking fuckers who can now afford time-wise and money-wise to really appreciate what it’s like to be still full of the joys of the world and everything good in it.

Youth is wasted on the young? Fuckaway out of it. You haven’t met MY people….




The Music or the Misery?

(Or: Why life seems so much better with sad songs in it)

sad music wallow

Are you one of those people who listens to upbeat, happy tunes whenever they feel down in the dumps? Or do you dive headfirst into a heart-rending ballad, wallowing in the sadness, letting the melancholy melody wash over you in a wave of blissful catharsis?

Well in case you haven’t guessed from the description above, I’m a fully paid-up, card-carrying member of the latter. I live for this shit. I need it – to quote Bon Jovi (yup, you read that right) – like a poet needs the pain. At the ripe oldage of 37, I’m still a moody, grungy overemotional teenager at heart. In some sick, twisted way, it makes me feel light years better to hear all those churning, dark, magnetic, gut-wrenching feelings from a position of ‘once removed’; like if Eddie Vedder can perfectly describe how I felt about a particular breakup or a jaunt down the one-way street of unrequited love, then it saves me the work.

Many an hour would be passed in secondary school by me simply writing out lyrics pertinent to my emotional situation. From a wide assortment of artists, I would fill page after page with the works of the great masters such as Hetfield, Di Franco, Morrison, Dylan, Amos et al. I was, and still am, a bit of a Rain Man when it comes to retaining song lyrics, so I could go on unchecked for tens of pages at a time, depending on how boring I found the lesson. Pity the auld Leaving Cert was never presented in song form; I’d have been a 600-pointer for sure.

I’m quoting Nick Hornby a lot while discussing this topic, but he’s got the best take on it in his book High Fidelity:

No contest for me, I was of the former. I was a clinically depressed, miserable, tormented, stereotypical teenage child of an ugly divorce, so much so that while my parents were in the middle of taking a verbal sledgehammer to the crumbling walls of their marriage, I stuck Pearl Jam’s Ten album on at full blast to drown out the anger outside my bedroom walls and give me a dose of the anger I felt within. To this day, I can’t listen to the song ‘Once’ without being transported back to the blood-red walls of my teenage bedroom and feeling the sky fall down around me.

My music gave me a lovely soft place to fall. I didn’t have to make sense of or verbalise what I felt, or try to ignore it – I just needed to (apologies to all the young folk out there) stick on the right cassette. It was like having your favourite musician as your own personal well-being advocate. Imagine Axl Rose sitting your feuding parental units down and roaring at them, telling them to get their shit together and stop fucking with your head or else he’ll fuck their telly out the window. How fun.

Some folk find it worrying that someone could be so immersed in sad melancholy music – to them, I say ‘CHILL’. Better that it’s out there rather than being buried deep down, only to resurface when you least expect it. Your brain is a dickhead for that sort of thing. Trust me.

I suppose it depends on how each of us uses music. Some use it to help transform their mood; others like me use it to express & enhance the mood I’m already in. To each his own.

You can buy this - click on the pic!

You can buy this apparently – click on the pic!

I wonder why it’s so much easier to become attracted to dark, depressing music and poetry? Along with those aforementioned musicians, all of the great classical poets that have etched their initials on the tough, bark-like exterior of my heart were all a bunch of miserable, Emo, navel-gazing bastards. And oh, how I loved them for it. Dickinson, Plath, Woolf, Shelley, Poe – I’d sit them all at my fantasy Dead or Alive Dinner Party any day. Hopkins and Wordsworth with their daffodils and fawning over nature’s glory can fuck off back to Disneyland. There’s no room at my dinner table for Shiny Happy bastards.

That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a rollicking good peppy-as-fuck tune on occasion. Show me ‘Footloose’ in the club, and I’ll show you dance moves that would make Kevin Bacon vomit with jealousy. Happy tunes have their place in the world, obviously. However, there’s something far more visceral, dark and delicious about a deep sad song that pulls you in for a slow, languid embrace, telling you it’ll all be okay. It tells you they’ve been there where you are, they feel it too, and they’re going to save you the trouble of having to put words on something, the description of which evades you. They have it worked out already through the medium of song – and it’s utterly perfect.

Go on, press play again. Let it wash over you once more.

Someone pass me a tissue…..



(click on the song title to give your ears a tearful hug)

1:  Bon Iver – re: Stacks 

2: Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat

3: Pearl Jam – Black

4: Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were

5: Tori Amos – Silent All These Years

6: Ani Di Franco – Both Hands

Ask J-Ro: All About Chemistry

I’ve been with my boyfriend for a few months. He’s sweet, funny and kind. The only thing is, I’m not attracted to him. I’ve known that all along but I’ve been trying not to be superficial. I tried to ignore it but now I feel like I resent him because I don’t fancy him. Should we break up?


In a word; yes. Why are you with him if you don’t fancy him? Sure he’s sweet, funny and kind, but so are puppies and friends. And you don’t have to go to the effort of going out with them to get that. If you don’t fancy him, then he shouldn’t be your boyfriend. The ‘fancying’ part is one of the fundamental defining points of a boyfriend or a girlfriend, so if that’s missing, you’re selling yourself short. You’re also not being fair to him; he deserves to be with someone who gets tingles in their tummy at the thought of being with them. Would YOU like to be with someone who didn’t fancy you? My guess is you’d be gone before you could say ‘Chemistry’.

You’re not being superficial by wanting to end it because he doesn’t do it for you, among other things we’re visually-stimulated creatures, and physical & sexual attraction is what separates a guy who is a friend from a guy who could be a potential love interest. It’s the funny feelings in our fuzzy bits that keep this world of ours turning 🙂

I could labour the point, but I suspect you know all of this. I think you’re maybe trying to find a way out of this without hurting his feelings, and without feeling bad yourself. I don’t imagine you were going to just grin and bear it for the next few years, having absolutely no sexual attraction to someone you’re stuck with just because you don’t want to be the breaker-upper. Unfortunately, it’s gotta be done. It will hurt his feelings, but you’re doing him a favour and it’s not out of nastiness; it’s out of honesty and respect. You’re giving the two of you the gift of freedom to have something way better with other people who will melt your butter in ways you never imagined. Sure who wouldn’t want a present like that? Go forth and take the step, it’ll sting but things will be far better for the both of you. Let some chemistry into your life!

Best of luck <3

Ask J-Ro: In Sex, It Works Both Ways…

I’ve been seeing my bf for 3 months and we’re mad into each other. There’s talk of living together and all kinds of long term plans. One problem. I go down on him and he doesn’t reciprocate. I don’t want to ask for something he doesn’t enjoy but I’m not going without for the rest of my life. Advice?
Oooh, it’s a tricky one! My first instinct would be to get rid of him because if he’s not willing to give you what you need to help fulfill your sexual needs despite the fact that you do it for him, I’d consider it a dealbreaker. I’ve heard from the senior women in my life that “If he’s selfish in bed, he’s selfish in life” – and I can tell you that it’s the truth. Real men take pride in the pleasure they give their other half, and it’s no chore to visit the South, if you know what I mean 🙂

But I hear you saying you’re mad about him, so it might not that simple. It seems that you haven’t broached the subject with him, which is an issue in itself. For something as intimate as sex and going down on someone, it’s so important to talk about it. It shouldn’t be a taboo subject of conversation. Good open communication is the foundation of a great sex life within a relationship. You guys HAVE to have a chat about this; your long-term sexual satisfaction is at stake here. If you don’t say anything and you guys are in it for the long haul, it’s going to be a source of resentment for you, and you won’t want to even go down on him in time because it will seem unfair. If sex becomes a battle-ground instead of a place of happiness and intimacy for you, that can only spell disaster. Talk, talk, talk. You may die a little at first, but think of what you may gain in the long run…

It may be that he doesn’t feel confident going down on a woman, or he may never have done it before – only he knows why he doesn’t do it, so chat with him and see why. The best time to bring it up, ironically, is while you’re having a bit of a post-sex pillow talk. Start by chatting about what you liked about what he DID do, ask him if he likes the stuff you do, then when he brings up you giving him oral sex, say something along the lines that you’d love to have that done to you, and you bet he’d be really good at it – or whatever way suits you! You could even tell him you read an article online that talked about sex tips and how to enhance women’s pleasure in bed and you saw one that tickled your fancy, so to speak..he’s bound to be curious, so let him have a read if he wants. If he’s as mad about you as you say, chances are he’ll want to be the kind of guy who makes his girlfriend feel like a billion dollars in the bedroom.

Those are just a few suggestions on how to broach the topic if you’re feeling a bit shy. I’ve put some links to popular articles from Cosmo below (The bible for topics like these!) so you have some evidence of things you’ve read. The first one is actually very funny, maybe you could share it with the boyfriend and have a bit of a giggle. It’ll make sure he won’t feel like he’s being attacked, and he may take your points on board.