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Marian Keyes shared some wisdom about mental health and relationships on The Late Late Show

“Don’t blame yourself if you can’t find the cause. It’s an illness.”

AFTER RELEASING HER latest book The Break, Marian Keyes appeared on The Late Late Show with Ryan Tubridy to discuss everything from relationships to her father’s Alzheimer’s.

Sensible as always, she shared some feelings about mental health and how common it is for people to become depressed for no reason whatsoever.

PastedImage-20265 Source: RTÉ

Ryan commented that Marian always comes across as someone of a very happy disposition, despite the huge difficulties she had in her twenties with drinking.

Keyes had even previously said that growing up her core emotions were ‘fear and shame’, Ryan asked how these two huge and ‘desperately sad’ words could have ever applied to Marian.

I think I was a very sensitive person anyway and I think, being the age I am, when I was growing up in the 60s, there was an awful lot of shame. Shame is taught. Ireland was a theocracy then and we were born with original sin. I already felt very ashamed about that.
Other people who are more resilient than me would not have found Ireland to be like that, but I just found it a very frightening place, where the last thing that a woman should do is stick her head above the parapet.

Although alcoholism is a genetic condition, she found the constant fear of life and getting into trouble was a terrible combination with alcoholism.

Marian is now twenty-three years sober which is a big deal, especially in Ireland. Since then, she achieved great success with her writing and met her partner.

Despite that, she began to struggle with her mental health.

I think depression is an illness just as alcoholism is an illness. When people hear that you’ve had a bout of bad depression, they want to know ‘What happened?’ or ‘What brought it about?’ Sometimes for some people, something terrible does happen to trigger it.

However, everyone’s different.

For some people, nothing terrible happens. Nothing terrible happened to me to trigger it and it happened very dramatically and very suddenly. I’d like to say to people out there: don’t blame yourself if you can’t find the cause. It’s an illness.

She told the story about how eight years ago, at a BBQ, she was suddenly overcome with unbearable anxiety out of nowhere.

If the video won’t play, you can watch it here

Marian was totally confused and terrified by her first bout of random anxiety.

She described the feeling as being total in fear of your life.

PastedImage-23511 Source: RTÉ

Earlier on the show Marian also spoke a bit about her new book The Break, which Ryan Tubridy described as ‘predicated on the notion that even in the happiest of relationships, one still needs a break’.

PastedImage-63742 Source: RTÉ

It tells the story of a woman named Amy in her second marriage (whose husband left her in the previous marriage) as she struggles to accept that her new husband Hugh wants to take a six-month break to South-East Asia to sort out his midlife crisis. An onslaught of emotion ensues as Amy tries to cope with the anxiety that Hugh will leave her, just as her ex-husband did.

The novel was inspired by Keyes reading about ‘marriage sabbaticals’ that are becoming more and more popular as life expectancy increases and married couples have to spend longer together than ever before.

PastedImage-32281 Source: RTÉ

Since Marian is always writing about relationships, Ryan asked her how often she’s approached and asked for advice.

She told Ryan:

I am, which I sort of feel is bizarre. I know nothing! I was queen of the disastrous relationships until I met himself. I have no wisdom.

Discussing the issues people commonly approach her with, Marian said it was usually stuff like this:

People say “I love him. I do. I really love him. But the sound of him eating an apple – I want to bury an axe in his head. Is that normal?” Or people say “Yeah, I love him, we’re newly married but there’s this man at work and every time I meet him Í get butterflies.”

Her advice to anyone feeling this way is that although you’re in a relationship, or married or coupled up, you’re still alive.

I have a lovely friend who says to me – and she’s very happily coupled up – but she says she never feels right until she has a work crush. Just something to keep… ‘the juices flowing’. She has no intentions of acting on it, but it brightens up the day. It’s like having a Mars bar or something, but an emotional version. It gives you a lift.

If the video won’t play, you can watch it here.


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Kelly Earley

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