Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Nobody Is Happy the Whole Time; Marian Keyes' Latest Book Is a Collection of Essays about Modern Life. the Writer, Now on the 'Other Side' of Crippling Depression, Tells HANNAH STEPHENSON Why She's Accepted That Life Doesn't Come with a Rule Book

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Nobody Is Happy the Whole Time; Marian Keyes' Latest Book Is a Collection of Essays about Modern Life. the Writer, Now on the 'Other Side' of Crippling Depression, Tells HANNAH STEPHENSON Why She's Accepted That Life Doesn't Come with a Rule Book

Article excerpt

Byline: HANNAH STEPHENSON

JUST a few years ago, best-selling fiction writer Marian Keyes was in the depths of despair, suicidal and unable to function properly.

The top Irish author - whose novels, including Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, This Charming Man and The Brightest Star In The Sky, have been translated into 36 languages and sold more than 33 million copies worldwide - had been under a cloud of clinical depression for more than four years.

In 2010, she announced in a newsletter to fans that she was suffering so severely that she couldn't sleep, read, write, or talk.

"Everything stopped. It was really unexpected. I've always been respectful of the fact that I'm prone to depression. I've tried to take care of myself and I thought I was, but it's an illness like any other and I found it hard to accept that.

"I thought it was my fault and that I'd done something wrong; that I'd brought it on myself somehow. But once I started thinking of it as an illness in the way that cancer is an illness or emphysema is an illness, and that things happen seemingly without a reason or cause, that was the way I had to think about it."

She later revealed that despite trying every treatment on the market - from acupuncture and vitamin B12 injections to yoga, cognitive behavioural therapy and meditation - suicidal thoughts led her to buy a Stanley knife, although she stopped short of using it.

She fears the depression, which lasted four-and-a-half years before finally lifting in 2014 as inexplicably as it arrived, may return. After endless therapies, both conventional and alternative, she's no longer asking why it happened or how it could be cured.

She tries to avoid talking about that period, however, which she admits is a change from her old belief, that talking always helps.

"Sometimes just burying something is a better way to go forward. It's not something I dwell on. At this stage I feel there isn't really any point in going back and wondering, 'Was there a trigger?' "If there was, I would have found it during my exploratory series of adventures."

But she's cut down on her heavy workload, and her husband and full-time PA Tony Baines makes sure she's not taking on too much.

The 52-year-old Dubliner doesn't do many interviews, because talking about the depression can start to mess with her mind, she explains.

"People still want to talk about it and I'm not able," she reflects.

"When I have tried to talk about it my own backlash has been unpleasant. I've ended up feeling like I'm going back into it, and that's so frightening.

"I hate saying no and I hate disappointing people, but Tony will say no. He's the voice of reason. But it goes against the grain because I'm a people pleaser. I was such a hard-worker, I really grafted, and I did so much travel to promote my books, but I can't do that now. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.