AN Irish man who battled suicidal thoughts has credited his idol Conor McGregor with inspiring him to lose over a third of his body weight and regain control of his life.
Thomas Forbes Nolan, 23, suffered from crippling panic attacks on a daily basis that seriously affected his quality of life.
The Dublin man contemplated taking his own life when he weighed more than 21 stone and couldn’t face going to the gym.
He says the success of Irish MMA star Conor McGregor showed him that with enough effort, he could become healthy again both mentally and physically.
"My whole life I was overweight because I was going through serious mental depression. I couldn’t bear it anymore. I was suffering with panic attacks on a daily basis and I had no answers for them. I saw no way out,” he said.
“I was contemplating suicide many times. I felt like it was the only thing I could do.”
Thomas explained that he once tried to go to a gym but had a panic attack and went home, adding: “I’m not ashamed to say I cried.”
"I tried so many times before. I’d lose some weight and then I’d just gain it all back on. I’d just give up. I’d get to where I wanted to be and I’d just give up. What really made me make that lifestyle change... I went to Las Vegas to see Conor McGregor face Jose Aldo.
"How Conor McGregor held himself, how he spoke, his mental state and how he truly had that self-belief... It’s something that I took notes on, it’s something that I watched deeply. I started to say ‘Well if he could think like that, why can’t I?’"
After returning home from Las Vegas, Thomas became determined to turn his life around but said he didn’t have the confidence to join a busy gym.
But a year later, Thomas has shed more than six stone (100 lbs) and is now a qualified personal trainer.
“My goal is to inspire people. Never be afraid to speak up. It’s never too late and you’re not alone. I know it sounds cliché but you’re not alone,” Thomas said.
“It’s everywhere. Depression and mental illness is everywhere, and it’s time people stood up and started realising that.”
Filmaker Gerard Walsh said he hoped the film would help others going through dark and difficult times.
"I'm a filmmaker and I also created a video last year about mental illness - it's important for me to help people tell their stories," he added.