Saturday 18 January 2020

'I used to think a person had the right to take their life – but now that has all changed'

Bestselling author Marian Keyes
Bestselling author Marian Keyes
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

SHE is without a doubt Ireland's best-loved bestselling author.

Marian Keyes has sold 24 million books and her hilarious dispatches on Twitter have attracted almost 50,000 fiercely loyal followers. She credits this personal connection with her readers for bringing her out of the "darkness of depression".

The 'Watermelon' author – who is currently holed up writing her latest book – has taken time out to talk openly about how she checked herself into a psychiatric hospital to keep herself safe during a phase when she had suicidal thoughts "24 hours a day".

Admitting that it is something she is "wary" of speaking about, she said she does not want to tell people how to do it (commit suicide).

Speaking as part of the TV3 'Ireland AM' Time to Talk Mental Health Campaign, Marian has told how during her lowest point of depression, she asked her husband Tony Baines to enter into a suicide pact with her as she didn't want to leave him alone.

She eventually admitted herself to St John of God's Psychiatric Hospital and is a firm advocate of keeping suicidal people safe from harming themselves.

"I was thinking of killing myself 24 hours a day, because I couldn't sleep and I planned it incessantly," said Marian. "I am very wary of talking about this because I don't want to tell people how to do it and I don't want people to do it."

She admitted that there was a time in her life when she thought it was a person's right to end their own life if everything became too much for them.

"Funnily enough, having gone through all of this, I would really prefer now if people were given help and kept safe so that they didn't," she said.

She told how imagining her death was the only thought that calmed her in the aftermath of her nervous breakdown in 2009.


"The only thing that calmed me was planning how to die because I thought if it gets really, really too awful there is a way out, I can make this end," she confessed. "I was so frightened that I told my husband and I told my mother and I told my sister.

"I asked my husband, because I didn't want to leave him, I wanted us to be together, if we could do it (commit suicide) together."

She said she had never been admitted to a psychiatric hospital before this point, clarifying: "I mean I've been through rehab a thousand years ago for alcoholism but this was very different."

She believes it was a safe place. "I couldn't leave.

"I was there for about 10 days and I came out because it wasn't working for me," she said.

"I subsequently went in four months later out of utter desperation."

Marian will speak on 'Ireland AM's Time to Talk Mental Health Campaign tomorrow morning while Nikki Hayes spoke to the programme this morning.

The programme airs every morning this week from 7am on TV3.

For more information visit or join the conversation on Twitter using the hash tag #timetotalk

Console can be contacted at 1800 201 890 or the Samaritans at 1850 60 90 90.

Irish Independent

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