The singer, who captured the hearts of the nation while on X Factor in 2010, spoke out about “feeling worthless” when she stopped taking anti-depressant medication.
“I felt I was strong enough. I thought I could do without them,” she told Woman’s Way magazine.
The Ballyfermot native admitted: “I started to feel like I was worthless. It was such a turbulent time in my life that I never want to go back to — and never will. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I just remember feeling like I had a hole in my stomach, an emptiness that I couldn’t fill no matter what I did.”
Byrne revealed an emotional encounter in a pharmacy with a kind pharmacist probably “saved my life”.
“On the day I was thinking of doing something silly to myself, the person I think saved my life was the woman in the chemist. Her name is Ramona. Something dragged me over there to that girl. She was behind the counter and I just burst into tears. She brought me into the little room at the back.
"She spoke to me with most gentle of voices and told me I was OK and that I’d get through this.”
The experience was a watershed moment and she said it was the beginning of the healing period.
“This whole experience has made me realise that I’m a very strong girl,” she said.
“My positivity is so high at the moment. I’m floating with confidence. I have lots of love that I want to give out to everyone.
“I promise myself that when everything gets back up and running, I'm going to take on challenges, no matter what they are.
“I’m going to face them and I’m going to enjoy every one of them,” she said.
Byrne is adamant that we must leave any stigma associated with depression “back in 2020” along with the stigma around taking anti-depressants. She says she will never come off them again.
“Anti-depressants work for many of us and some of us need to take them on pretty much a permanent basis.
“I’m going down slowly from the high level of anti-depressants that the doctor put me on when I was badly depressed.
“I’m nearly at the low end now and I'll stay in that for the rest of my life.
“They can shove me in a box or burn me but I’ll be going with the anti-depressants,” Mary said.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact Samaritans helpline 116 123 or Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.