How I beat the blues

By admin
08 April 2011

They look like the picture-perfect family: devoted husband, attractive wife and adorable four-month-old baby boy.

But the happy facade masks months of pain and unhappiness that almost resulted in the collapse of the marriage of one of South Africa’s best-known radio and TV personalities. And behind Darren Scott’s smile lies a personal battle with depression that threatened to derail his life.

A few weeks ago Darren was seeing more of his radio colleagues and clients than his family amid rumours he’d moved out of his Hartbeespoort Dam home after cheating on his wife, 27-year-old model and businesswoman Sarah-Kate.

Darren admits his life was spinning out of control. He was devoting all his time to work, his gruelling fitness schedule and his mates. He was pushing himself to the point of exhaustion and refusing to deal with personal issues. Eventually a psychologist diagnosed him as being depressed and in the throes of burnout.

“I was caught off-guard,” Darren (47) admits. “I looked at the doctor as if he was talking about someone else.”

We’re on neutral ground for this frank discussion, meeting at a Sandton hotel after Darren has finished work. He’s sipping a glass of red wine while Sarah-Kate tries to placate their slightly niggly son, Mark.

Darren believes the death of his beloved mother triggered his depression. Lilian passed away in 2009 of a pulmonary embolism and he buried himself in work. “I hardly ever saw Sarah-Kate,” he recalls.

Darren had more on his plate than one man could handle: he was hosting two radio shows – one on Jacaranda FM in the morning and the other on East Coast Radio in the afternoon – and running his business, Just Plain Media, an agency specialising in tactical media.

Avoiding coming home became the norm for him. There were times, especially during the soccer World Cup, when he was so busy he’d sleep at the Jacaranda studios and Sarah-Kate wouldn’t see him for days.

He ended his East Coast show in December last year. Sarah-Kate assumed he’d be around more in the evenings but that didn’t happen – in fact, he spent increasingly less time at home. And even when he was home he was distant.

Darren was ready to call it quits but becoming a dad put things into perspective. “I sat holding Mark one day and thought, ‘I don’t ever see you. I haven’t spent much time with you.’ He looked at me as if I was a stranger.”

“Darren is my best friend and I’ve missed him,” Sarah-Kate says, adding they’re back to their old playful selves. Darren is more than willing to right the wrongs – even if he’s busier now than he’s ever been. He has plans to open a wellness centre in Joburg with his personal trainer in the next few months and to launch a chain of health-food stores with his dad later this year.

Read more about it in YOU, 14 April 2011.

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