I battled my depression by baking, says bestselling author Marian Keyes
Author Marian Keyes said her depression was so severe she couldn't get out of bed
Bestselling author Marian Keyes yesterday broke a two-year silence to tell how she suffered a depression so severe she struggled to get out of bed.
The 48-year-old chick-lit novelist said she shut herself away, trapped in what she described as a ‘living hell’, unable to motivate herself or even to ‘concentrate on a sentence’.
But Miss Keyes also told how she discovered a secret weapon to fight back against her illness – the art of baking cakes.
The Irish author, whose novels include Watermelon, Sushi For Beginners and The Other Side Of The Story, said: ‘I started baking cakes because I was so totally unable to do anything else and I found it comforting and it got me through the day.
‘Every cake I made, [my husband] took the most wonderful photos [of] – really quirky and cute and fun and it was a project that sort of kept us both going because it’s been such a weird time.
‘For months and months and months in the past two-and-a-quarter years I’ve been unable to get out of bed or concentrate on a sentence or motivate myself to do anything.’
There has been a downside to Miss Keyes’s baking-based recovery, however. She admitted that all the cakes – coupled with her medication and lack of energy – have caused her weight to balloon.
She explained: ‘I am the size of a house. It can’t be helped, it’s the anti-mad tablets I’m on, I’m over-exposed to cake, and also the fact that I used to exercise a fair bit and [now] most days, it’s a genuine struggle to get as far as the shower.
‘It makes me sad to be a fatso because I feel I can’t wear nice clothes because everything looks so horrific on me, but on good days I have hope that it won’t be like this forever and I just have to be patient and wait it out.’
Writing on her internet blog, the author also revealed that to compound her distress, her father has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
‘It’s been going on for a long while, but has definitely got worse recently,’ she said. ‘Over Christmas, he was so confused he had to spend ten days in hospital.
Miss Keyes said she started baking cakes because she was unable to do anything else and I found it comforting
‘The thing is that he can’t be left on his own and my poor mammy has to get out of the house sometimes or else she’ll go bananas. But as a family we’re lucky in that there’s a lot of us living close by so we can divvy up the arrangements between us.
‘But it’s very sad and so prevalent, there barely seems to be a family who isn’t affected by one of its members having some sort of dementia.’
Miss Keyes is considered a pioneer of the ‘chick-lit’ genre and has sold more than 23million books since she started writing almost 20 years ago. Her novels feature strong female characters and dark themes.
After her positive experience with cookery, however, she is now publishing a guide to baking for charity, called Saved by Cake. She also revealed she is working on a new novel.