Martin Gallagher is the author of the ‘Learning to Dad’ blog, speaking openly and candidly about his experiences of living with depression and anxiety as a dad coming from the Irish Traveller community. Using his writing to raise awareness of depression and to challenge toxic masculine perceptions, (especially those from the overtly patriarchal Traveller community), he is straight-talking and uses a humorous approach towards mental illness and parenting, which makes reading about a serious topic light-hearted and relatable.
Not afraid to speak about the links between the conflict, discrimination and racism that is received daily towards his Gypsy, Romani and Irish Traveller (GRT) heritage, Martin is happy to address the misconceptions surrounding Irish Traveller lifestyle and is very reflective on the effect that daily hostility has on the mental health of not just GRT, but all minorities.
A brief history with the condition
“When I was 27 years old, I woke up paralysed from the neck down and didn’t think I would see past that day. It wasn’t until the doctors told me that I had experienced a severe anxiety attack that I even thought that I could have depression. From that day, I began to take my mental health seriously.
When I think back about my diagnosis for depression, stress and anxiety, I realise that it has been an ongoing battle for much of my adolescent and adult life, as a result of experiencing racism, discrimination and hiding my identity daily.
Since my diagnosis, I continue on my journey, learning to live with my condition and still trying to recognise the ups and downs. Writing about my experiences has helped me come to terms with my mental health, it is an incredibly effective coping strategy and I believe that talking about my depression saved my life.”