Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O'Connor, now touring North America,  had a frank conversation with Tommy Tiernan about how reaching out for help saved her life.

Sinead O’Connor is now in the USA, embarking this week on her first North American tour in a long, long time…and it wouldn’t have happened, she says, unless she sought help to combat the mental demons that plagued her life for so long.

“If I hadn't done the reaching out that I did do I wouldn't be sitting here, talking now, I really wouldn't,” Sinead revealed during an interview with Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan on his Saturday night show on RTE.

Sinead, 53, has suffered terribly throughout her life, especially after she became super-famous after her rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2U” made her a global superstar.  She’s had lots of public meltdowns – many of which came courtesy of social media – and many different types of treatment, but the bad days, she told Tiernan, are “all in the past.”

“For me, there was a lot of loneliness and publicly reaching out but there was also a lot desperation, I was dying, I really was, so I was grasping anything that might keep me alive,” she said.

Not surprisingly making friends has proven difficult for Sinead, given her fame and another issue she grapples with – agoraphobia or fear of unknown situations.

Read more: Relishing Mná na hÉireann by Kate Bush

“Do I have lots of friends? No I don't, no. I suppose because I was a bit lonely, I am also agoraphobic, which nobody knows about. I never discuss that, which is a fear of open spaces so I don't go out much,” she told Tiernan.

“Because I had gone through hard times I isolated myself as well and I still find that people want to be friends with me for the wrong reasons.

“It would be rare for me to experience people who want to be friends with me just because they like me.  There is usually a job or something else in it.

“And I have become untrusting of people. I became cynical, so I am not great at making friends.  I am lacking in that department.”

Sinead got rave reviews for the concerts she performed in Ireland and various European cities late last year.  Her voice is on point and then some; North American fans can Google her tour dates to see where she’s playing next. She’s got a number of shows booked throughout the U.S. till April. 

Her problems, she says, are in the rear view mirror, news that will thrill her fans to no end.

“There was s*** going on in my life that drove me a bit mental in the midst of which I had a radical hysterectomy which would drive anyone mental,” she told Tiernan.

“I can laugh about that now, but at the time it was terrible. I don't enjoy suffering and it is not like I am one of these artists who feels like I can't get creative unless I am suffering. And the great thing about going mental is that you get sane again. So it is over.”

Read more: The amazing origins of “Whiskey in the Jar” one of the best-loved Irish ballads

Sinead O'Connor on the Tommy Tiernan Show on RTE. RTE still.