Eoghan Mc­Der­mott

Eoghan Mc­Der­mott (33) is a broad­caster with a de­gree in pol­i­tics and Ir­ish. He is a co-host on the TV show ‘The Voice of Ire­land’ and also presents a ra­dio pro­gramme on 2fm. Born in Dublin, at present he lives in Knock­lyon with his par­ents

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - NEWS -

I’m a bit of a night owl and as a re­sult, I get up at 9.30am. I’ve re­cently moved back from Lon­don, where I lived for three­and-a-half years, so I’m back in the fam­ily home for the mo­ment. I get up and have break­fast with my par­ents. It’s lovely be­ing back with them, be­cause it’s for a very fi­nite pe­riod of time. I’ve just got sale-agreed on a house. I’m at the age where I re­ally en­joy the com­pany of my par­ents, and I talk to them more as friends than as par­ents. I never have an ap­petite in the morn­ing, so I usu­ally have an ap­ple and a glass of wa­ter.

I used to read the papers, but now I just scroll down the phone and go through any num­ber of sites and my own Twit­ter feed. If there is any­thing meaty or sala­cious, I’ll email it to my­self and it’s there when I ar­rive into work in 2fm, where I do the Driv­e­time show, five days a week, from 4pm un­til 7pm. It’s oc­ca­sion­ally silly and oc­ca­sion­ally se­ri­ous. We’re very in­flu­enced by Amer­i­can entertainment and the way they do pop-cul­ture pol­i­tics. I let that colour the way I do the show. I’m a big fan of Jon Ste­wart.

If I’ve time in the morn­ings, I’ll run down for a quick swim in the lo­cal pool. I find it the most pleas­ant way to ex­er­cise be­cause it wakes you up, works out all of your mus­cles and when you get out, you feel re­freshed. Then I have a quick shower, get in the car and go to RTE. Any time I do any form of ex­er­cise, no mat­ter what anx­i­eties or stresses are float­ing around, I al­ways find that these are in­fin­itely lighter af­ter­wards. I think ev­ery­body should be mas­sively con­scious of even do­ing a lit­tle bit for their own in­ter­nal well-be­ing, if noth­ing else.

I do a lot of one-off gigs and host­ing things and sem­i­nars in schools, so if there is not some­thing there that needs to be cov­ered, I’ll go straight into work and prep the ra­dio show. I usu­ally get into RTE be­tween 11am and 12pm. I’ll have a sit-down meet­ing with the team. We’ll look for some chunky sto­ries and nice guests. We have landed some big guests in the last while. A few weeks ago, we had Adam Clay­ton. Mem­bers of U2 are no­to­ri­ously hard to get hold of, but I was do­ing a men­tal-health cam­paign and Adam was in­volved in it too. He was very open about how he had suc­cumbed to drugs and al­co­hol in the past. I have had my own men­tal-health is­sues too.

A while ago, I was asked to be an am­bas­sador for Pi­eta House, for no other rea­son than that I was do­ing The Voice of Ire­land, and if you have some­one from the telly sup­port­ing your cam­paign, you might get an ex­tra story in the pa­per. When I got to know all the great work they did [help­ing to pre­vent sui­cide and self-harm], I felt a lit­tle disin­gen­u­ous be­ing in­volved with­out be­ing hon­est about my own sit­u­a­tion. So I did a lit­tle YouTube video-con­fes­sional about a pe­riod I went through about six years ago.

I was in a good place in my life in terms of work. I was host­ing a driv­e­time ra­dio show on a fa­mous Lon­don sta­tion, Xfm [now Ra­dio X]. But I had just bro­ken up with a long-term girl­friend. She moved coun­try to pur­sue her stud­ies, and then I moved coun­try to take the ra­dio gig. I had never had any kind of emo­tional ad­ver­sity be­fore and I just didn’t han­dle it well. I thought that this was go­ing to be a long-term re­la­tion­ship and then, when it ended, I found it very dif­fi­cult to process, and that man­i­fested it­self neg­a­tively. I went through a pe­riod of self-harm­ing and a lit­tle spate of de­pres­sion. I was a bit with­drawn in my­self. And also, I was in a new place, so I wasn’t sur­rounded by my reg­u­lar fam­ily and friends. I’d just moved city, and it was much eas­ier to mask this stuff. I had a lot of dis­trac­tions and my life was very busy and ex­cit­ing. I en­joyed that, but it was in the quiet mo­ments when I’d drift off some­where else and self-harm.

In the end, I opened up to a friend who was in a sim­i­lar break-up sit­u­a­tion, and he gave me great ad­vice. Once you make that break­through by talk­ing about it, the world be­comes a much less daunt­ing place. Ever since then, I have taken care of my men­tal health, and now I feel very re­silient.

I get asked to en­dorse a lot of stuff, and I say no to pretty much loads of it, but this Coca-Cola Thank You Fund is dif­fer­ent. It’s a fund of €130,000 for north and south of the is­land to help foster tal­ent and also help the well-be­ing of young peo­ple. Given my own ex­pe­ri­ences, any­thing that en­cour­ages a young per­son in a pas­sion they have found or that im­proves their self-es­teem is a good thing.

I was at Fun­der­land over the Christ­mas, queue­ing to go on a roller coaster. There was a girl in front of me, I’d say she was 13, and I saw that she was self-harm­ing. I could see it on her arm. I wanted to give her a mas­sive hug and say, ‘Lis­ten, you’ ll be OK’. This is the first gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple who have grown up with mo­bile phones, so their nor­mal­ity is that they are not phys­i­cally in­ter­act­ing with peo­ple as much.

When we were kids, af­ter we did our home­work, we would go out to meet our friends. There was only the land­line in the house, and if you wanted to see your friends, you had to phys­i­cally talk to them. That prob­a­bly doesn’t hap­pen any more, and maybe it should. You can’t stop the march of progress with tech­nol­ogy, but it has cre­ated its own set of prob­lems and self-es­teem hur­dles.

Dur­ing the day, I grab a quick snack in work. I love do­ing the ra­dio show, es­pe­cially the spon­tane­ity of it all. When it’s over, I might have a beer with my col­leagues. In the evenings, I read fic­tion or I might go to a gig. One of the perks of this job is that I get a lot of in­vi­ta­tions. I of­ten stay up quite late and catch up on TV shows like Game of Thrones and Break­ing Bad. I usu­ally go to sleep around 2am. I al­ways sleep bet­ter if I’ve ex­er­cised that day.

I went through a pe­riod of self-harm­ing. I broke up with a girl­friend and I didn’t han­dle it well. Talk­ing about it helped

In con­ver­sa­tion with Ciara Dwyer Eoghan Mc­Der­mott is am­bas­sador for the €130,000 Coca-Cola Thank You Fund. Ap­pli­ca­tions can be made on­line be­fore June 7, see coca-cola.ie/thankyou

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