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McEvoy's show reveals funny side of 'black dog'

ACTRESS Mary McEvoy has spoken about how keeping busy helps her to cope with depression, but that she'll never be able to shake what feels like a "chronic pain" for her every day.

The former 'Glenroe' star told the Irish Independent that her battle with the 'black dog' has exhausted her, yet she can't rest because she is plagued by constant anxiety.

"I have this ongoing thing that's very tenacious and just won't let go. I wish I knew how to get rid of it.

"In one way I wish there were days when I couldn't get out of bed because I simply need to rest. But I've just kept running ahead of it.

"At the end of the day, that's probably good because I'm constantly multi-tasking and kept occupied."

"But I feel sad most of the time. When people go around feeling normal, I just feel sad and anxious," she added."

McEvoy has given theatre audiences a full account of how depression has affected her life in a new stage production called 'Box of Frogs: A Revue of the Mind'.

The play tells of the 57-year-old's personal experience with mental health problems through a mix of comedy sketches and songs.

The actress admitted that she broke down while rehearsing for the play, which became like emotional therapy for her.

"The first time we rehearsed I just went to pieces. We were doing a scene from my childhood, when I left the family farm and went to boarding school. I never realised the grief I felt leaving my parents and I couldn't get through it in rehearsal.

"It's personal therapy because the more you say it, the more it helps you get over it," she said.

McEvoy insisted she's not concerned about exposing herself if it helps to encourage discussion.

"I'm probably prouder of this than most things I've done."

Comedian John Moynes and broadcaster Dil Wickremasinghe have teamed up with McEvoy for the production, running at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin this week.

Newstalk's Wickremasinghe said her story is related to "the trauma I experienced with being thrown out of my family home" after coming out about her sexuality.

Meanwhile, Moynes joined the cast to shed light on recovering from depression. "I ended up being hospitalised after a suicide attempt when I was 21," he said.

"One of the main reasons I'm involved is that lots of people think mental health problems are forever. I was treated for six months and haven't had any issues since."

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