Kodaline front-man Steve Garrigan has opened up about his battle with anxiety for the first time.
In an interview with Voice of Ireland coach Bressie for his mental health website, alustforlife.com, Garrigan said that he has suffered from anxiety “for years”, but didn’t feel able to speak out about it until recently.
“I’ve dealt with anxiety and panic attacks for years. I kept quiet about them because I was afraid of what people might think.
"I’d put that down to the stigma surrounding mental health, but, it’s refreshing to see that mentality slowly changing,” he said.
He went on to say that music helps him to deal with his anxiety and his “repressed feelings”.
“Without song writing, I’d be an anxious mess. It’s my escapism, my therapy and yes, I probably am, subconsciously, writing about repressed feelings.
"I wrote High Hopes when I was going through a particularly bad time with anxiety. I believe positive thinking is one of the most powerful things in the world and that’s basically what the song is about,” he explained to Bressie.
Despite Kodaline’s international success, the Dubliner insisted that it hasn’t changed him as a person.
“I’m a very shy guy and success hasn’t really changed me. I think the four of us are very grounded and down to earth.
"We appreciate everything as it took us over ten years to get to where we are today and we’ve gone from busking on the street to selling out arenas. We’ll never forget where we started,” he added.
The High Hopes hit-maker also shared some useful advice for young people trying to follow their passions.
“The most important things are self-belief and determination. If you can nurture these traits within yourself, you’re half way there.
"Also, don’t be afraid to fail. I’ve failed so many times, I’ve lost count. The important thing is to learn from it,” he stated.
Garrigan also shared his advice for those who may be struggling with their mental health.
“I’d say that it’s ok not to feel ok, and, it’s definitely ok to ask for help. Talk to someone you trust, and don’t be ashamed of how you feel,” he concluded.