Darkness Into Light Ambassadors

Darkness Into Light 2021 Ambassadors

Each year Darkness Into Light is supported by a host of incredible ambassadors from all walks of life, who lend their voices and their hearts to the campaign and help Pieta bring in much-needed support for their lifesaving suicide prevention services. In 2021 some of our ambassadors have shared Sunrise Notes – short pieces of writing expressing how they have found light in the dark, during this most challenging of years.

Miriam O’Callaghan

Broadcaster & Darkness Into Light Ambassador

"Darkness Into Light is an incredibly important event on the Irish calendar. Now more than ever, Pieta need support from the Irish public to ensure their valued services can continue for those who need it. This year has seen Irish people adapt and come together in times of darkness. We’re a nation of doers, and I’m sure there will be a rally of support for Darkness Into Light, as we look towards a brighter future together. I’m looking forward to when we can walk hand in hand, arm in arm at dawn at future Darkness Into Light events. Until then, while we’re apart, let’s unite for Darkness Into Light: One Sunrise Together."

Click here to sign up and join us for Darkness Into Light Or you can make a special lifesaving donation today to help support Pieta’s suicide prevention services. Thank you so much.

Please remember that Pieta is always here to help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you, or someone you know is being affected by suicide or self-harm, call Freephone 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444.

Donal Ryan

Writer & Darkness Into Light Ambassador

"I used to work in a job where, in the line of duty, I had to deal with bullies on a regular basis. I waded into one situation after another where someone needed to be shown the error of their ways and how they could make amends. I went to great lengths to ensure the amends were made. I became, in a way, a bullier of bullies, and was very happy with myself. I started to think of myself as a bit of a tough man, a hard-nosed champion of the underdog, someone who couldn’t themselves be bullied.  

Then I was laid low by an unexpected confluence of events. The writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls them ‘black swans’ – unpredictable, improbable, unplanned-for events that have an extreme impact. The world seemed to rearrange itself around me, darkness closed in. I found out that I could be bullied after all, by circumstances beyond my control, by negative thoughts, by anxiety and fear and a crippling inability to see that the sun was just below the horizon, that the dawn was always coming. I wasn’t a tough man, after all. I felt foolish for ever having had that idea of myself. It took me a while, but I came to realise that no one needs to spend their life being tough. All any of us can be is ourselves and we’re all vulnerable, easily wounded, open to pain. No one wears impenetrable armour. Not all the time, anyway. Armour is heavy, it has to come off.

After my blacks swans had flown in, wreaked their havoc, and flown away again, I started to become really aware of the value of doing nothing. Of letting myself off the hook. I realised that I could only occupy the space I occupied and I could only exist in the present moment. The past and its traumas couldn’t be changed, the future couldn’t be predicted. The black swans might circle back or they might be gone forever. I armed myself against the darkness with a little arsenal of weapons formed from things that brought a feeling of calm and gave me pleasure: scrolling through ads for vintage cars on Done Deal; sitting at the back door having a coffee and watching birds in the garden; finding a good TV series and allowing myself an episode a day; taking a walk or a cycle or a jog; or my favourite of all: a few minutes or a few hours of doing nothing at all.

These lines from AC/DC’s classic Down Payment Blues always come to me when I find myself beginning to feel overwhelmed: ‘I know I ain’t doing much/But doing nothing means a lot to me.’ Doing nothing should mean a lot to all of us. Really doing actually nothing, and not feeling any obligation whatsoever to do anything, or achieve anything, or create anything. And most importantly, feeling no guilt for it. Stillness and proper rest: phone-off, door-closed, every-limb-relaxed absolute inactivity is a beautiful treat that we should all regularly allow ourselves. We shouldn’t actually see it as a treat at all, but as an absolute right. Not just in snatched moments, but for hours, or days at a time. However long you need. You don’t need a country bolthole or a spa weekend or anything at all: a nice chair is enough, or, if you don’t have a chair, a square of level ground. Do nothing, and revel in it. The world will spin on, the sun will rise and set and rise again. Lie on your back and look up at the sky for a while. Let yourself off the hook.

The noblest of all ambitions is to be kind, to ourselves and the people around us. No one expects grand acts of altruism or selflessness; the most profound kindnesses are often quiet acts, barely visible. The most worthwhile action is often inaction. A conscious decision to do nothing, to ask nothing of oneself, to let the world be as it is, can have a powerful effect. Like Hungry Paul in Rónán Hession’s wonderful novel, Leonard and Hungry Paul, who ‘maintained a natural clarity throughout his day, and stayed apart from the trouble that the world will undoubtedly make for those who look for it’, we should all allow ourselves peace, quietness, stillness. We should all let ourselves off the hook.

On May 8th this year we can join millions of people around the world in a shared moment of peace and hope as the sun rises on our beautiful planet, supporting Pieta as we do so. It’ll be a moment of togetherness and friendship, a quiet moment of care, for ourselves and for others, as we walk through the darkness into light."

Senator Eileen Flynn

Senator & Darkness Into Light Ambassador

"For every single one of us, sometimes it feels like our life's just got out of control and trying to see the way ahead can feel very overwhelming and even for many people impossible. But, trust me, I've been there, there is always hope and you're never alone although you feel very very lonely and you find it very hard to reach out. Trust me, you're never alone in your feelings. Thanks to Pieta, there is always someone you can reach out to when you need someone to listen. And when  somebody does listen, life always gets better. The night cannot last forever and after the darkness there is always the sunshine - a new day full of fresh starts and a new possibility. Hang in there. You came this far and you can go farther. Thank you so so much for listening." 

Lawson Mpame

Creative Director & Darkness Into Light Ambassador

"Depression is being colorblind and constantly told how colorful the world is. - Atticus

At one point in my life this was very much true, everything was grey and there was no colour to be seen anywhere I looked. Things just seemed to get worse and worse no matter how much I tried to make things right. The world was truly grey and dark. 

It's at this moment the darkness creeped in like a stranger in the dark with mal-intent to snuff out whatever light that was left. I almost let the dark stranger in. Suicidal thoughts loomed over me daily and it was all I thought about some days. All I thought of was just ending the pain and that this was the only way to end that pain.  

But it took the lowest point in my life to realise how wonderful and colourful the world truly was. Colourful and wonderful because I had people who loved me dearly and who wanted me to see how colourful the world truly was. It took talking about this dark stranger who was lurking and confronting this dark stranger to begin healing and seeing the world for what it truly was. A wonderful and colourful place. 

I am not gonna stand here and lie to you that it will be easy but know that you are loved, you are worthy and the world is truly a beautiful and colourful place. Just confront the dark stranger and reach out for help. 

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel that will bring you from Darkness into Light."

Ollie Dingley

Irish Olympic Diver & Darkness Into Light Ambassador

"People always say you should talk to someone, but how do you put into words something you don’t understand yourself? How do you explain that you want to live your life when you don’t even know how you can? For many years, I was stranded with this inability to change my own situation. From my own experience many people assume that depression is just "being sad" or "fed up" and you should just "man up" (I was even told to do just that). Depression is an illness that can take over your life, some days it feels impossible, the simplest of tasks can feel arduous. But every now and again, I found a chink of light through the dark clouds that had ascended over me. Those were the moments that felt precious and, in turn, they became the moments I lived for. Looking back, I believe that when you look for positivity your brain remembers and the more you do it, the more good things you will notice. It’s all about the little wins and remembering to look for the good things that happen to you. Although hard to grasp at the time, this became a mantra I would use.  

My saving grace over the last few years has been communication. Something I initially could not bring myself to do. For a long time, I could barely bring myself to have a shower and eat, let alone have a conversation about my thoughts and feelings. I felt like a burden to those around me. An inconvenience who was better off not being around. I eventually did find a little strength within to break out of this self-inflicted isolation, reaching out to those closest and that sense of connection has become an important part of my own recovery. Whether you live on your own or with others, being connected to other people is really important, sometimes just having a chat can make the world seem a brighter place.  

As we all continue to live through the Covid-19 pandemic, on some days I have found those dark clouds precariously looming above, just waiting to creep back in. However, through communication and finding the positives, I have learnt that it is OK to be kind to yourself, it’s ok not to be able to solve every problem you come across instantly and it’s certainly ok to ask for help."

Click here to sign up and join us for Darkness Into Light Or you can make a special lifesaving donation today to help support Pieta’s suicide prevention services. Thank you so much.

Please remember that Pieta is always here to help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you, or someone you know is being affected by suicide or self-harm, call Freephone 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444.