Credit: Library and Archives Canada / C-011299
This from the Globe and Mail’s laudable series on mental illness (via Bookninja)
"For many years, my family has kept a troubling secret. What has made things even more difficult is the fact that the person it involves was not only my grandmother, but one of Canada’s most beloved authors, Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Her most famous novel, Anne of Green Gables, is still a bestseller after 100 years. In addition to Anne, my grandmother wrote 19 other novels, personal journals and hundreds of short stories and poems. As well, she has been the subject of several biographical studies.
Despite her great success, it is known that she suffered from depression, that she was isolated, sad and filled with worry and dread for much of her life. But our family has never spoken publicly about the extent of her illness.
What has never been revealed is that L.M. Montgomery took her own life at the age of 67 through a drug overdose."
If mental illness is to be de-stigmatized, as cancer has been over the past fifty years, public discussion of the challenges and damage that it inflicts upon those who suffer from it, is essential. As the Globe’s commendable coverage suggests, this multifaceted disease is very much a part of most people’s lives, and as such, nothing for them to be ashamed of. Too many lives have been shattered — broken marriages, lost jobs — not just because of the devastating impact of mental illness itself, but also because of an unsympathetic, unaccepting attitude, found among those who don’t understand or don’t wish to acknowledge it, toward those who suffer from it.
Listen here to an interview I conducted recently with Irene Gammel. Toward the end we discuss LMM’s struggle with depression.