"I cried for seven years. Every day. Anything would set me off," says well-known actress Mary McEvoy about her battle with depression. "I remember planting trees, and I started to cry and everyone said: 'Oh, Mary is just so emotional about the trees, she's happy about the trees.' I wasn't happy about the trees at all, I was very, very upset, because I felt the planting of the trees was a gesture of hope, and I had no hope at the time."
Asked about the possible reasons that led her to experience periods of extreme depression, McEvoy, best known for her role as Biddy in rural drama Glenroe, says: "I think some of it had to do with the unease of being well-known. I was doing something that my family or my culture would prefer I didn't do, which was to draw attention to myself. I felt very ill at ease with the whole thing. Also, people coming up to you and going, 'Biddy!' Then bursting into peals of laughter -- you kind of think, well what's so funny about me? You feel slightly ridiculous . . . I think I just have a tendency towards it [depression] anyway".
McEvoy, who lives with partner of 22 years Garvan Gallagher, describes the illness as a "horrible, nagging, debilitating, joyless thing". It was through practising Buddhism that Mary has found much solace and help.
Asked to offer advice, McEvoy says: "I would say go and talk to someone now. Maybe get medication so the clouds will clear a bit, but don't lose hope. If you can stick with it, it's through this that you'll find the nugget in your life, the gold nugget. That sounds almost trite but it's not. Stay within this day, get through this hour. Don't put your attention on anything further and just keep that."
'Would you Believe', tonight at 10.30pm, RTE One