Brave Laois Man Confronts His Biggest Fears

Written 5 months ago by Angel Croitor


Anthony Culleton was crowned Macra na Feirme’s Mr. Personality 2018. If you were to meet Anthony in person you’d say he was a confident and talkative individual who’d be the life of the party.

However, it wasn’t always this way. Four years ago, he was admitted to St Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin.

“A lot of the time it’s a mask over what really goes on inside. I suffer with something called O.C.D.”

He goes on to define his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as a “mental health and anxiety” disorder that plagues you with unwanted and intrusive thoughts which trigger other distressing feelings. You develop rituals or mental checks to calm your anxiety and to reassure that everything is okay.

These checks usually end up counter-productive as they just feed the cyclical obsession.

“Easiest way to summarise it is – if 100 people came in here now and said the studio is on fire, you need to get out and then one person walked in said everything’s fine continue on with your show – who’re you going to listen to? – there’s one part of your head that’s telling you everything’s fine but you don’t listen to that part because everything else is giving the counter of that.”

Three years ago Anthony was in St. Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin for the second time due to a very bad panic attack. The first time being five months after a panic attack in 2011 that completely debilitated him.

The doctors in St. Patrick’s reassured Anthony that everything was okay and not to worried about the anxiety or distress he was feeling.

“At the back of your mind you know it’s fake – but everything in your body is telling you it’s the gospel truth.”

Anthony says that there is no distinctive reason so far as to why victims come to suffer from O.C.D. such as bullying or traumatic events in life but that’s not to say that these occurences don’t have a part to play in the emotional/mental habits that gradually develop and take over your life.

So how does someone who suffers from a social disorder such as O.C.D. come to be crowned Mr.Personality 2018 of Macra na Feirme?

“I went to the Laois round of Mr.Personality just for the craic, just to see what it was like – when I was announced as the winner of the Laois round kind of wanted the ground to open up and swallow me – but then I had a couple of months to try and readjust and I said just go and enjoy it and make a few friends and say that you did it.”

With no hope of winning in mind Anthony decided to participate despite all of his anxiety playing up with the thoughts of participating in a public event.

“Thats the whole point of this is to get other people who are suffering from O.C.D. in silence – to say that it’s okay to talk. It’s no the taboo subject it used to be.”

Anthony says that it’s so important that men are finally coming forward and recognising their feelings.

“Speak out – you don’t have to go on radio, go to a friend, go to a family member, go to a psychiatrist, got a GP and talk – life is the rarest thing we have.”

You can listen to the full interview up above. If you or someone you know is suffering they can reach out and find help at https://www.mentalhealthireland.ie/