Best selling Irish author Marian Keyes has revealed she is battling "crippling depression" that has left her unable to write, read, sleep or even talk to people.
Keyes, whose books have sold millions of copies, has told fans that although prone to depression, her latest battle with the illness was like "living in hell" and "much, much worse" than anything she had experienced before.
In a January newsletter posted on her website, Keyes, 46, whose books include "Watermelon" and "Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married," said she was attempting to recover from the illness.
"I'm aware that these are terrible times and that there are people out there who have been so ruined by the current economic climate that they've lost the roof over their heads and every day is a battle for basic survival and I wish I could make their pain go away," said Keyes, reportedly a former alcoholic.
'I fear it will never end'
"But although I'm blessed enough to have a roof over my head, I still feel like I'm living in hell. I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't write, I can't read, I can't talk to people. The worst thing is that I feel it will never end.
"I know lots of people don't believe it, but depression is an illness, but unlike say, a broken leg, you don't know when it'll get better."
Keyes, a pioneer of the "chick-lit" genre, is known for her romantic comedies centred around a strong female character, but with dark themes including drug abuse, mental illness and domestic violence.
Her latest work "The Brightest Star in the Sky" was published in October 2009. Dozens of readers left messages of support on her website, describing her as "amazingly talented" and wishing her "a speedy
recovery." - (Sapa, January 2010)