“On the Couch” with Ailish Connaughton

If there was ever an interview that everybody needed to hear it is this one. Ailish is a peer educator with an organisation called ARI, which stands for Advancing Recovery in Ireland, which in essence was created to help people get through Mental ‘Ill Health’.

While discussing the organisation is important we focused more so on Ailish’s own ‘lived experience’. It is powerful to hear her speak so rankly about her own depression, what it meant to her and now how she can help others through the invaluable work she carries out with REGARI (The REG stands for Roscommon, East Galway, which are two regions in Ireland).

Listen to the interview here.

And if it interests you please check the REGARI Facebook Page

As you listen, you will also hear two poems that she, herself wrote about her experiences. Written with care, compassion and sincerity, both poems are sure to resonate with anybody who has lived with depression, anxiety or mental ill health.

The Beast

Depression is a beast that lives inside my head,

Saying I do not deserve to be here and filling me with dread.

He has been there from the start

Lurking quietly in the back.

He waited still and patiently for the time he could attack.

Little did I know that in my early years,

It was the rise and fall of his breathing

That fed my worries and my fears.

And now he has awoken with such ferocious might,

I struggle to protect myself, to prevent his nasty bite.

I have lost my sense of purpose, lost clarity of my role

As this beast toys with me and scratches at my soul.

He lunges and he pounces

Throwing his weight into the fight.

I am locked in, I am stuck, he’s got me

In a grip that’s unrelentingly tight.

Some days he dozes softly,

 Let’s me think I have the upper hand.

But then he awakens thunderously

And floors me with a land.

It happens too, occasionally,

 When he snarls I do not care.

I must admit that presently these days are much too rare

I fight to overcome him,

To turn the table on this row.

Somewhere deep within me

I must have the strength to find out how.

How to take control,

Control of him and I.

I must continue with this journey

And hold my head up high.

He may have won the battle

But he has not won the war.

I am stronger than he thinks,

More than he gives me credit for.

Ailish Connaughton

June 2013


The Journey

Recovery is a journey

On a road with many bends.

There are ups and downs

And rounds and rounds

This road it has no end.

The path is not straightforward,

 There is no one way to make this trip.

You must find the way within yourself,

You must crawl or walk or skip.

Hope, love and compassion

Will create the landscape that you see.

Understanding and acceptance

Will be your company.

   Continue with a sense of purpose,

you will find exactly where you should be.

The fog and mist should clear now

Your true value you will see.

Take this opportunity

Grab it with both hands.

Take control of your decisions

And of your future plans

Do you recognise this feeling now?

Can you guess what it might be?

Its belonging let me tell you,

You’re part of the Recovery Family Tree

Ailish Connaughton




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