'When my legs went from underneath me and my breath stopped coming, just minutes before we were due to go live on The Voice, I knew this was panic at its worst. Yet in the midst of the madness, something became clear. If I got through this, the secret I had guarded for years with all my life could not remain secret for much longer ...'
In his book, Niall Breslin speaks openly about living with depression and anxiety, and his crippling journey to finally acknowledging 'Jeffrey' - the name he chose for it - years after he took the decision to conceal his growing mental health issues from the world, at age 15.
Told with raw honesty, it is a story of the demons that lay beneath outward success, and how they impacted on his career in sports and later music, as he coped with a condition that at times seemed hell bent on wrecking everything in its wake. It is also the story of a road to reconciliation with brokenness - beginning after a massive panic attack before a live TV appearance in 2012 - leading to brighter horizons.
Me and My Mate Jeffrey is an essential book for anyone who knows what it is to feel alone, and who doesn't know how to ask for help - or anyone who wants to better understand that journey.
Niall Breslin, known as Bressie, is an Irish musician and former Westmeath Gaelic footballer and Leinster rugby player, representing Ireland at Under-21 level in the Rugby World Cup. A native of Mullingar, he attended UCD on a sports scholarship, graduating with a BA in Economics and Sociology.
He found success as the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter with pop band The Blizzards, as a co-writer and producer with XIX Entertainment, and as a solo artist and music producer. He was the winning coach on the first and third seasons of The Voice of Ireland.
His work in the area of mental health education and empowerment began two years ago, after his own struggles with depression and anxiety led him to open up publicly on the issue. His My1000Hours blog and training initiatives set out to explore positive and proactive ways of improving emotional fitness and managing mental stress, including through exercise, as well as educating young people about the stigma and management of mental health issues.
Me and My Mate Jeffrey isn't an easy read, but it's not meant to be. It is the story of an unusual life, told with an affable and honest delivery by a spirited and resilient narrator
- Sunday Business Post