In a candid and courageous interview this week, Daniel O’Donnell’s wife Majella spoke of her personal battle with depression and the many black periods where she even considered taking her own life.
In a no holds barred interview Majella told how she locked herself away in the toilet and sat on a toilet seat clutching rosary beads just trying to find the strength to go on.
Majella’s frank revelations have been welcomed by both suicide and depression awareness self - help groups who have praised the singer’s wife for her courage in speaking openly about her illness which they feel would help remove the stigma which is still attached to mental illness. The interview was first carried by the Irish Daily Mail.
A member of Aware, the group involved in combating depressions said, “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 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.”
Majella said, “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.”
However after marrying Daniel she decided to cut back and wean herself of the tablets as things were perfect in her life but the depression returned.
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.’
Daniel just said there and then ‘Please go back on them and don’t ever come off them again’.
“I don’t think I will. I think that’s it for life.”
She said she is now blissfully happy with her life with one Ireland’s biggest country star who this weekend is appearing in Bundoran.
She said: “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.”