Pegeen O’Sullivan reviews A Day Called Hope: a personal journey beyond depression by Gareth O’Callaghan, Hodder and Stoughton, £10.99 pbk
THIS IS in many ways an unexpected book. The author grew up in a secure and happy home and in his turn was husband and father to another family strong enough to survive his illness as a loving unit.
He is manifestly extrovert and has been successful in his career as an ace disc jockey and a fiction writer. What could have driven this extrovert and successful man to years of searing depression, drink, drugs and the pull of suicide?
The answer is sexual abuse as a child from a religious brother -- a man of charm who was a great friend of his parents -- and bullying at school both from the Christian Brothers, who taught him, and from his fellow pupils.
As is often the case it was low self-esteem, in his case due to the abuse he had suffered, that instinctively made him a candidate for bullying.
There were times when I found the account of his long way home to recovery reminiscent of Sammy Smiles, but this is unfair. It is valuable to have such a detailed account of the experience of depression and an even closer inspection of the life style he developed to regain health, vigour and joy in living.
Knowing as we do that there is an immense amount of mental illness among the immigrant Irish community in Britain any help in understanding their needs would be welcome.
Sadly this book rather serves to make one realise how much less they have going for them.
Connolly Publications Ltd, 244 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8JR
Copyright © 2003 Pegeen O'Sullivan