Murray speaks of depression as he returns to airwaves
RTÉ Radio presenter says ‘it is lovely to be back’ after six month absence
RTÉ Radio 1 Radio presenter John Murray pictured this morning when he returned to present The John Murray Show after a six-month absence. Photograph: Brian McEvoy
“One minute I am happily presenting this radio show and enjoying life, the next I am gripped with dread and anxiety with the simplest task proving beyond me,” Murray told his listeners at the start of his 9am show on RTÉ Radio One.
“Depression took a fancy to me and decided to take up residence for a few months, and boy, did it make its presence felt, especially in the mornings when the day ahead became something to endure rather than enjoy,” he added.
Although Murray said he was a “little bit reluctant” to give advice to others suffering with depression or anxiety, he did offer the following counsel: “Don’t be too hard on yourself. You haven’t failed the life test. Share your thoughts and feeling with others and don’t suffer in silence.”
He urged those who know someone experiencing depression not to be afraid to contact them. “They mightn’t reply immediately or at all, but boy, will they appreciate that someone is thinking of them. I know I did,” he said.
Dr Claire Hayes, Clinical Director, Aware, said the acknowledgement of high-profile individuals such as John Murray and Cork hurler Conor Cusack, who last week blogged about his struggle to deal with suicidal thoughts, depression and panic attacks as a teenager and young man, helped to break down the myths and stigma surrounding depression.
“There has been such an outpouring of solidarity and goodwill over the past week that this is clearly an issue which is resonating with so many individuals and families in the country at this time,” Dr Hayes said.
“It serves a really important reminder that depression is something that can happen to any one at any time in life, that there is no need to be ashamed about it, and above all that it is possible to recover.”
“We encourage anyone who is going through similar experiences to please reach out for the help that is available,” she added.
Director of Mental Health Reform, Dr Shari McDaid said it was “heartening” to hear John Murray speaking openly about his experience of depression and subsequent recovery.
“As someone who has lived with panic attacks for many years, I agree with him that it is important to seek support and not to feel ashamed. With the right supports in place most people can recover and that is why Mental Health Reform advocates that everyone across the country has access to appropriate support when they need it,” Dr McDaid said.
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald also praised the radio presenter for speaking openly about his depression.
She said she “really rejoiced at him having the courage to talk about depression in that open way” and said it would encourage others to talk about it and to seek help.
* If you need support with depression or anxiety experts advise getting an assessment by your GP or a mental health professional. Groups such as Aware also provide support for people with depression. Contact 1890 303 302 or visit aware.ie