'Stigma exists' | 

Elaine Crowley was ‘warned’ she’d ruin career by speaking about depression

The Ireland AM star was diagnosed with dysphoria when she was 36 years old.

Elaine Crowley

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Elaine Crowley has admitted she was “warned” not to publicly speak out about her "depressive illness”.

The Ireland AM star was diagnosed with dysphoria, a mental state in which a person has a profound sense of unease or dissatisfaction, when she was 36 years old.

Speaking on The Six O'Clock Show on Monday evening, Elaine told of the “stigma” she faced when she opened up about her mental health struggles.

Host Karen Koster asked her if she worried before deciding to speak about it, to which she replied: “Absolutely.”

She explained why she decided to tell the world about her mental health issues.

“Sure I was told before I did - because you know before this I had The Elaine Show, before that I had Midday,” the Cork native explained.

“And you'd be talking about your life openly and expecting others to do the same with you.

“I actually felt like such a hypocrite because I was going through all of this and people were sharing the most harrowing stories with me and I said, 'Listen I have to open up.’"

However, Elaine was warned by a number of people not to speak about mental health publicly as to do so would destroy her career.

“Aisling O'Toole, who was the editor of Irish Country Magazine at the time, I trusted her. It's hard to trust somebody with a story like this because a lot of the headlines can be quite sensationalised and a bit cutting.

“So I talked about it but I was warned by a few people: 'You know, this could be the end of your career, you'll be treated differently'.

“And I have been treated differently by a lot of people because of it. The stigma does exist.

"It's been about ten years now since I started talking about it.

"If you fessed up basically to the fact you had a depressive illness, you were stigmatised and I think it still does happen."

The Virgin Media star added that her depression was extremely difficult for her family as she would shut out her loved ones during this period.

"Sometimes I was not a nice person, I was horrible and it's hard for other people to put up with your behaviour,” she said.

Elaine was speaking as part of the Talking Depression, in which she and her sister Maggie are sharing what it is like to live with depression and to support a loved one living with depression.

All videos for the Talking Depression campaign can be viewed on the Janssen Ireland YouTube channel and The Little Book of Big Conversations can be accessed on the Janssen with Me website at janssenwithme.ie/depression.


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