Marian Keyes’ road to depression

By admin
21 January 2011

It was a confession that left her millions of fans speechless - one of the most popular authors of the day is suffering from crippling depression that has made her life a living hell.

Irish author MARIAN KEYES is one of the pioneers of the so-called chick-lit genre. The heroines in her novels are feisty women who, with typical Irish humour, make short shrift of the most daunting challenges life hands them. But these days Marian struggles to see the lighter side of life.

On 10 January she wrote on her website, “My dear amigos, happy new year to you all and I hope your festive season wasn’t too unpleasant. I’m very sorry but this is going to be a very short piece because I’m laid low with crippling depression.”

Few people can comprehend how a woman with a loving husband and successful career that made her a multimillionaire can suffer from depression. Since 1995 when her first book, Watermelon, was published, 23 million copies of her 11 books have been sold.

By writing and talking about her depression Marian is already on the road to recovery, South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) founder Zane Wilson says.

“Hiding your mental health problem is exhausting,” Wilson says. “Speaking out about her illness proves that even with lots of money, a great career and friends, anyone can get depression.”

Marian’s outpouring could even perhaps save a life.

She was born in 1963 in Limerick and grew up in various cities in Ireland. She spent her twenties in London. She and her economist husband, Tony Baines, who is also now her manager, have been married for 14 years and live in Dublin with their two imaginary sheepdogs, Patch and Socks (Marian has a phobia about real dogs).

In 1993, while in the grip of alcoholism, she started writing short stories “out of the blue”. Four months later she stopped drinking.

She was 29 when she took an overdose of pills and vodka - luckily she became so anxious she called friends.

“After my close brush with death writing was like a last attempt to save myself,” she says.

Although she didn’t want to write a novel she sent a batch of short stories to a publisher and mentioned in passing she was working on an idea for a book.

The publisher wrote back, saying they’d like to see the novel, so Marian was compelled to start writing it. The result was Watermelon. It was published in 1995 and it made bestseller lists around the world.

*Call Sadag on 0800-70-80- 90 between 8 am and 8 pm or visit

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