BEST-SELLING author Marian Keyes would happily give up writing if it meant she would no longer suffer from depression.
And in a frank interview in tomorrow's Weekend magazine, the writer, who has sold 23 million copies of her books worldwide, said: "My truth is that what doesn't kill you makes you weaker rather than stronger, although it makes you wiser."
The writer has spoken about how she bought a craft knife and planned to take her own life while battling depression.
"I was extremely suicidal for a year and a half, and I had to fight it every day. . . I remember sobbing in my mother Mary's arms and begging her to give me permission to kill myself," she recalled.
Like the character Helen in her latest book 'The Mystery of Mercy Close', Marian also bought a craft knife in January 2010 and planned to end her life. However, with the help of her therapist, she pulled through this dark period.
"The depression has been worse than anything else I've been through, including alcoholism and recovering from that, and I would happily have never written again just to get rid of it. The only way you can feel that you're not alone is by hearing other people's stories.
"There are so many people who have gone through the darkness that I go through, but I feel uniquely lucky that my experiences can be diverted into a book that might strike a chord with someone in the same position."
Marian said her breakdown began in October 2009 when the people and places she loved began to feel unfamiliar and even frightening to her. She had to cut short a holiday to Thailand with her husband Tony and in December was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
"When you're desperate, you'd do anything so I tried yoga, cognitive behavioural therapy, swimming, hill walking, meditation, reiki, acupuncture, vitamin B12 injections, mindfulness, prayer, gratitude lists, random acts of kindness, staying in bed, zinc and attending Padre Pio Masses. None of the feckin' things worked."
She said the only thing that helped her was baking cakes.
"I baked obsessively, and it was a great help, although I'd never been that type before.
"It didn't cure me, but it managed to colonise some of my brain so it wasn't completely full of horror," she recalled.
These days, Marian has more good days than bad. However, she said people struggling with depression should not have to feel that they must be stronger after a "s***** experience".
"I think there is pressure on people to turn every negative into a positive, but we should be allowed to say, 'I went through something really strange and awful and it has altered me forever.'
"I am definitely different. I'm less resilient, have less stamina and am far more fragile today. Maybe I won't be in four more years, who knows?"