“I didn’t know what anxiety was, I didn’t know any of these words.”
Charlene, who is known for her roles in Pure Mule, Bloodlands and Ripper Street, shared that she attends therapy and that she “fell apart” due to issues with her mental health in 2009.
The Monaghan actress told Tommy: “I’ve learned a lot more of how to find, recognise and enjoy the dew grass in the moments. I think we get a bit addicted to our own shite, our narratives. It’s all a bit romantic.”
Charlene was then asked why she attends therapy. Initially joking that she was “mad as a box of frogs”, Charlene then discussed her own experience with anxiety, especially in the early days of her career.
“I would have had a big old breakdown in 2009,” she said. “I really fell apart and the darkness took over. The head went and everything hurt. I got scared of everything.”
She continued: “Now looking back, I know what happened. I done too much. Too much, too soon, too fast and I put too much pressure on myself. Because I think I came into it the way I did, I think I thought it was too good to be true and then you better keep making hay while the sun is shining. I just never quit making hay and the sun kept shining but then I got wrecked.
“I was totally spoiled”
— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) February 12, 2022
“You can always go home. I went home, and I just fell apart. My mind was racing, with mad, various, awful, everything, nothing thoughts and it’s racing and I can’t sleep. But I didn’t know what anxiety was, I didn’t know any of these words.”
She then explained that she sought professional help.
Fans quickly took to social media to praise Charlene for being so open about her experience.
One tweeted: “This was brilliant, what a great description of anxiety…because Charlene has shared her experience she has just helped so many people who might not even know what their symptoms were. Amazing actress and really real person.”
Another said: “Charlene McKenna is an incredibly awesome soul. What an entertaining interview.”
A third wrote: “Loved Charlene on #TommyTiernanShow. How easily she speaks about her therapist…very refreshing. Very funny talented lady.”
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, support is available. You can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 at any time of day, or you can email them by contacting [email protected].