MAR­IAN KEYES

Sud­den Wild En­thu­si­asms

The Irish Times Magazine - - FASHION STYLE -

This time nine years ago, my men­tal health took a sud­den swerve for the very un­pleas­ant. Out of nowhere, I was rid­dled with acute fear. Sui­cide seemed ex­tremely at­trac­tive. In those days, I used to do a monthly news­let­ter, but as I was in­ca­pable of writ­ing any­thing co­her­ent. I cob­bled to­gether a few sen­tences ex­plain­ing that I’d gone a bit mad and that I’d be back as soon as I was “un­mad”.

To my sur­prise, ad­mit­ting I had de­pres­sion trig­gered a small me­dia fuss, in­clud­ing one ar­ti­cle, of which the gist was, be­cause I had “a hand­some hus­band” and a well- paid job I had noth­ing to be de­pressed about.

It made no odds to me – I was in and out of a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal, I was try­ing to stay away from knives. I had other things on my mind, shur, you know your­self!

But after a few years, I im­proved, and I be­gan to mind on be­half of other suf­fer­ers who might have read that piece. Guilt, self- loathing and a to­tal ab­sence of com­pas­sion for one­self are core parts of de­pres­sion. It doesn’t take much to stop an ill per­son ask­ing for help.

I still worry about peo­ple who might have read that ir­re­spon­si­ble ar­ti­cle and thought that be­cause their hus­band still had his hair, they had no right to feel wretched.

Since then, though, Ire­land has be­gun to un­der­stand that de­pres­sion is an ill­ness like any other. That some­times it’s cir­cum­stan­tial but just as of­ten isn’t. That it’s not a choice, it’s not self- pity and that it can’t be cured by prac­tis­ing grat­i­tude/ eat­ing ba­nanas/ cop­ping on/ climb­ing the Su­gar­loaf/ what­ever you’re hav­ing

l‘ o‘

Guilt, self- athing and a to­tal ab­sence of com­pas­sion for one­self are core parts of de­pres­sion. It doesn’t take much to stop an ill per­son ask­ing for help

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