Singer Sinead O’Connor has told how she’s feeling “really good” again after spending the past three-and-a-half years of her life in a mental institution.
The Nothing Compares 2 U star revealed she was ready to start making new music and touring again, and is planning to publish her memoir next year.
Sinead, who took the name Shuhada Sadaqat after converting to Islam, spoke exclusively in studio to Dave Fanning on RTE 2FM on Saturday.
The 52-year-old looked fresh and relaxed and wore a hijab throughout the 50-minute radio interview in which she outlined how she:
- – Is rebuilding her life after years of therapy
- – Has reconnected with her family
- – Will play her first gig in four years
- – Found converting to Islam like “coming home”
Two years ago Sinead posted a disturbing video of herself pleading for help in a motel room in New Jersey.
But she revealed on Saturday that years of trauma therapy had brought her back from the brink.
In the 2017 footage, which prompted US telly shrink Dr Phil to reach out, she sobbed: “For two years, my entire life has revolved around just not dying, and that’s not living.
“And I’m not going to die, I’m not going to die.”
Reflecting on her darkest days and her public cry for help she said yesterday: “It actually saved my life.
“When you are suicidal but you don’t want to die you would do anything to save your life.
“When you’re isolated because you’ve burned all your bridges you don’t know what you would do to save your life.
“In my case I was very lonesome, I needed to get sh*t out. When you’re drowning you’ll grab anything and you’ll scream and that was me screaming to save myself.
“The whole Dr Phil experience led me into trauma work. It got all that sh*t out, it was very peace-making.”
The outspoken mum-of-four known for her trademark buzzcut revealed she’d been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
She added: “I’m rebuilding my life, I’ve been in the nuthouse for three and a half years, and I’m allowed to say that, the N word.
“In my case I wouldn’t necessarily define it as mental illness. What happened was there were things going on in my life that made me feel suicidal.
“And if I hadn’t been in hospital for three and half years I wouldn’t be alive to sit here talking… perfectly sane people feel suicidal.
“What I learned over the last three and half years is that you learn to tolerate those feeling without becoming so distressed that you either have to act on them or go to hospital.”
Sinead said she was rebuilding her relationships with her dad, her sister and her brothers – but she had learned from experience that speaking publicly about it was not helpful.
And she said embracing Islam had been like “coming home”, adding: “I identify hugely with the stigma that Muslims have had to deal with.”
The Dubliner formerly known as Sr Mary Bernadette said she had been studying religion since her childhood but left Islam to last because she had prejudices.
She added: “When I began to read it I realised I’d been a Muslim all my life without even knowing it because it’s a way of thinking.
“I thought ‘oh my God I’m home’. I want to help to smash some of the stigma around Islam.”
Having worked with the likes of Shane McGowan, U2 and Massive Attack in the past she also revealed she had only ever turned down one collaboration – with Ronan Keating.
The Boyzone frontman was given the elbow because, Sinead said, she “couldn’t breathe” when she heard him singing with an American accent.
She said: “I think I really, really upset him which is not what I meant to do.”
The singer gave her first ever interview to Dave Fanning in 1987 before her meteoric rise to fame with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra.
But she returned on Saturday to reveal she was feeling good and looking forward to getting back to work.
She said: “I think I’m really, really good actually, really good.
“That’s why I’ve come in as well, partly to let people know I’m around because it’s been four years since I did anything.
“I’m missing it (live performing)… it’s what I do.”
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