Work and knitting tea cosies saved me, says McLynn

Pauline McLynn has told of her plunge into depression after quitting the hit television series Shameless two years ago in controversial circumstances.

McLynn, 50, shot to fame for her part as priests’ housekeeper, Mrs Doyle, in the comedy Fr Ted.

The Sligo-born actress joined the cast of Shameless, in 2009, but was written out of the show in Jan 2011.

McLynn, who is married to theatrical agent Richard Cook, blamed tiring commutes between Dublin and Manchester for leaving the series. “I’ve had the blues and I have got help for them as well,” she said on RTÉ’s The John Murray Show yesterday.

Asked about the tough time she had after leaving Shameless, she said there was a lot of “bad stuff” around that and a lot of things she was not allowed to talk about. “It just provoked awful depression and a mid-life crisis. There was nothing wrong with the work — it was to do with other stuff.”

She said she felt let down by people and felt a fool herself.

“I actually found it hard to pull out of it and so I did go for help. I knew trouble was coming so I dealt with it as best I could and then it just got too much. At one stage I was on all sorts to get me through the working day.

“It’s taken me two years to get out of it all.”

Her husband was not so sure about her talking about her battle with depression but she felt it was best to let people know that she was feeling low.

“Actually, in many ways, oddly enough, work saved me,” said McLynn, who performed in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days in the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

McLynn also found knitting was therapeutic and started making tea cosies. Branded ‘Go Ons’, she sells them on paulinemclynn.com, at prices ranging from €50 to €90. She says the prices are justified as each tea cosy is unique.

“If breathing or meditation is no good for you, try knitting. It’s because it is so therapeutic and you have something to show for it afterwards.”

She says depression has left her a little wiser.

“You then know the good things in life and appreciate them so much more.”

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