Irish country star Daniel O'Donnell's wife Majella has revealed how she considered suicide and went through deep periods of depression.
She spoke to the Irish Daily Mail about sitting on a toilet seat in a London hotel at four in the morning clutching rosary beads and trying not to think of killing herself. Her frank account has won her many admirers among those who deal with depression.
A spokesman for Aware, the organization involved in combating depressions stated, “This was an extremely courageous thing for Majella O’Donnell to do -- it was her own secret battle and there was no onus on her to bring it into the public domain.
“Her interview will give people suffering from the disease inspiration and show them that the battle can be won. There are many types of depression - reactive and clinical and Majella was obviously suffering from the latter which essentially is a chemical imbalance which can be successfully treated by drugs.
“There is no shame in this condition or any other mental illness - it is a condition just like a broken leg or a bad flu and can be treated. I think Majella deserves a medal for bringing it out into the open and hopefully her words will bring solace to many people and perhaps even save some lives.”
In the interview Majella stated, “It is the most dreadful disease you could possibly have. You are in this hole and it’s way, way down and everyone else is at the top. Nobody can do anything for you, absolutely nobody.
“I had it since my teens and early twenties but I didn’t get medication. I went to the doctor and told him I couldn’t be depressed because I was a positive thinker and I read books.
“He said, ‘Majella, it’s like saying I can’t have blood pressure because I’ve read books.’ He said it was a chemical imbalance and I needed something to balance it.
“I haven’t been (depressed) since I started taking the anti-depressants. Thanks be to God. I was very lucky and they worked great for me.”
After marrying Daniel in 2002 she tried to cut back on her drugs but slumped into a deeper depression.
She recalled, “I found myself with a pair of rosary beads sitting on a toilet at half past four in the morning in a hotel in London rocking back and forth and crying and praying. I said, ‘Please God don’t let me go down there again.’”
Her husband told her to go back on her medications. "‘Please go back on them and don’t ever come off them again,’ he said. I don’t think I will. I think that’s it for life.”
Majella said she is now happy. “I am the person I am because of everything I went through. I don’t want to go through it again, but I believe it’s made me a better person now and for that I’m very, very grateful.”