In the first of a series of videos by Aware featuring well known Irish personalities, Elaine Crowley shares her journey with depression

When Elaine Crowley graced the cover of Irish Country Magazine back in 2013, she revealed that depression was something she had to grapple with every day, putting on a brave face as she presented her television show.

Now as part of a series on depression by mental health charity Aware, Elaine speaks candidly about hiding her depression from the world, before learning to accept that her diagnosis isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Elaine references her cover interview with Irish Country Magazine in the video.

“I do feel like a hypocrite. I was being dishonest on my own show. I was telling people to speak out about mental health but I was lying to them — and to myself,” she said in the interview. “I never felt suicidal but I did feel that if a bus ranme over, it wouldn’t make a difference. I was existing, not living. I stopped socialising, I stopped going out and I was avoiding my friends and family.

“I was coming home from work, getting into bed and staying there until the following morning. I’m great at putting on a front so nobody in TV3 suspected a thing and I was in great form on air.”

She felt at the time that other people must have it worse than her, so ignored her situation, something we can all identify with at times.

“Because what was wrong with me was a mental health issue, it was so much easier to ignore. People lead such horrible lives and suffer such horrible illness and still get on with life, and here was me, with a few low moods but nothing actually wrong with me,” Elaine said. “On paper, my life was perfect and it was a hard thing to admit to myself that something was wrong. But I did and I went to speak to someone – sitting in the reception was terrifying but I had to do it. I’m living now, not surviving.”

Elaine is the first Irish personality to open up as part of Aware’s Resilience Series, supported by Cadbury Ireland. The series aims to encourage people to invest in their mental health and show that resilience is a skill which is developed and enhanced over time through life experiences.

“You can take a statin if you’ve cholesterol problems. I mean, I just take another form of medication to keep my health in check. It’s as simple as that, for me,” Elaine says in the video.

Aware is the national organisation providing support, education and information services for those impacted by depression, bipolar disorder and other mood related conditions. Founded in 1985 the organisation developed in response to the clear need for information, understanding and support, both for individuals with a diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder as well as family members supporting a loved one. For more information, please visit www.aware.ie.