Irish cooking sensation Donal Skehan has revealed the personal struggles he recently faced in the “hardest year” of his life.

In a new interview on ‘The Number’, the hit podcast by Darren Kennedy, Skehan reveals that in the months leading up to the 2020 onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, he had been struggling with “no consistency to life”, overwhelmed with the demands of his career and being forced to suddenly uproot his family from LA back to Ireland at the beginning of the first lockdown.

This pressure, coupled with the devastating news that his father had prostate cancer, left the award-winning cookbook author at his lowest ebb.

Discussing how he navigated his father’s diagnosis, coupled with not being able to see his parents due to the Covid restrictions in place at the time, Skehan admits that his “lifeline completely shut down…elements of depression and anxiety crept in”.

Having moved back for Dublin after a five-year stint in LA, with a newborn and a two-year-old in tow, Skehan recalls how being isolated from his parents, his support system, left him feeling like his “world was torn apart”.

Reflecting on that difficult period, Skehan admits that it has changed his, and his family’s life for the better, having been gifted a newfound perspective and appreciation for life: “had we not gone through that, we would not have the understanding of what we wanted. It really did put a focus on things”.

Elsewhere in the wide-ranging discussion on the numbers that have had the most significance in his life, Skehan touches on the unspoken and often harsh realities that fathers and indeed all parents face when navigating life with a newborn.

Reflecting on the days after the birth of his first son, Noah, the popular food blogger recalls how he struggled to make peace with the reality that life as he knew it was forever changed:

“I found it really hard to give up that control to this tiny little baby. I think very few people talk about it”.

Initial shellshock aside, Skehan poignantly admits that fatherhood has given him a new lease of life “your perspective really does change”.

Commenting on his chat with Donal Skehan, Darren Kennedy said: 

I wholeheartedly enjoyed my conversation with Donal, and I know his honest and open reflections on the unspoken, often difficult realities of parenthood and of course the personal mental health issues he faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, will resonate with and provide both comfort and inspiration to so many people. I can’t wait for everyone to hear the full episode. It really is a thought provoking and heartfelt chat!

‘The Number’ is available on all streaming platforms. Other series one guests include DJ Fat Tony, Roxie Nafousi, Nicola Roberts, Panti Bliss, Edel Coffey and Jennifer Zamparelli.

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