herald

Friday 21 September 2018

Listeners pulled me out of depression – John Murray

POPULAR: John is back on the air after six months spent battling crippling depression. Picture :Brian McEvoy
POPULAR: John is back on the air after six months spent battling crippling depression. Picture :Brian McEvoy

RTE Radio One presenter John Murray has revealed that depression kept him off the air for six months.

But the host, who returned to the airwaves this morning for the first time since April, added that his listeners were the "secret weapon" that helped him get back on track.

"One minute I am happily presenting this radio show and enjoying life, the next I am gripped by dread and anxiety, with the simplest task proving beyond me," he said when he went on air just after 9am.

The 49-year-old also told how the extreme emotions took a terrible toll on his day.

"Those with experience know depression doesn't just drop in and say a quick hello and head for the hills, or at least my kind didn't," he said.

ENDURE

"No, it took a fancy to me and it 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."

But the Tallaght father-of-two revealed how the concern of his listeners had helped him fight though the darkest of those terrible days.

"In my battle to get better, I discovered I had in my arsenal a secret weapon – you, the listener," he said.

"I am so grateful to everyone who took the time and the trouble to write to me (and who) sent me get well soon cards and mass cards.

"Those who rang and texted the show enquiring after my health, as well as all the people in the last few months who I met in Rathfarnham and Borris and elsewhere, thanks for making the tough days a bit easier with your love and concern and for helping me get back here this morning so we can renew our friendship now and have a bit craic in the process," the presenter told his listeners.

Mr Murray also thanked his wife, Miriam, his "two great children", Stephen and Katherine, and in-laws and family for their support.

And he gave a special tribute to Miriam O'Callaghan for stepping in while he was out sick.

SUFFER

He also had some hands-on advice for people suffering from depression – and for their friends and family.

"Everyone is different," John said, "but the one thing I will say is, don't be too hard on yourself – you haven't faced life's test.

"Share your thoughts and your feelings with others and don't suffer in silence."

"Finally, can I say to anyone who knows someone who is depressed, don't be afraid to contact them.

"They might not reply immediately or at all, but boy will they appreciate that someone is thinking of them – I know that I did."

The popular host is understood to be hugely grateful to RTE bosses who gave him their full support during his time off the air.

Insiders say that he hopes to meet his listeners during an upcoming walk to be announced on his show.

ksweeney@herald.ie

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