Sheila McMahon

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A comic who enjoyed a sell-out show in Lichfield has spoken of a battle with depression that left her feeling suicidal as a child.
Sheila McMahon
Sheila McMahon’s comedy career is going from strength to strength, with plans to take Sheila’s Mental Health Show on tour. But in her new book The Power of Knowing You – Learning from the Past, the 39-year-old counsellor reveals the sadness behind the smiles. “Writing the book has been very insightful,” she said. “It’s taken me on an emotional journey that has made me even more determined to turn my negative past into a positive future that will benefit me and many others. “Statistics suggest that one in four people in the UK suffer from depression or a similar mental health issue. It’s a very dark place to be in, when negative thoughts completely overwhelm you and you struggle to cope with everyday life. “That’s why I’m so passionate about trying to help others – not just those suffering from depression, but also their family and friends who often don’t understand that someone can’t just ‘snap out’ of depression like they might just ordinarily ‘snap out’ of a bad mood. “It’s way more deep-rooted than that.” Sheila grew up on a farm in the West of Ireland, after being born with a cleft palate which made her the victim of bullying as she undertook speech therapy. She admits spending her entire childhood “feeling worthless, anxious, insecure”, finding comfort in food which led to binge eating. But amateur dramatics proved to be the turning point in her life as her confidence grew and she opted to start a new life in England. Sheila revealed how a formal diagnosis of depression in her mid-twenties had allowed her to understand how the condition. Determined to make a difference, she qualified as a psychotherapist and now runs a private practice – a career she balances with comedy. Although her new show touches on her experiences, the counsellor-turned-comic admits she wants to keep breaking the taboo of discussing depression. “I want my own mental health show on TV,” she said. “I want to interview experts, talk openly about depression and discuss how we can all help ourselves and each other. “There are already programmes about physical health issues, but I don’t think there’s anything currently covering mental health,well, certainly not in the way that I’d like to present it!” Sheila will launch her book, The Power of Knowing You – Learning from the Past, at the Lichfield Garrick’s theatre bar on June 19. Visitors will be able to purchase a signed copy and take part in a question and answer session. For more information email contact@mindmanagementforyou.com. The book is also available from Amazon priced at £12.99.

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.