Every morning Alastair Campbell, the former spin doctor to Tony Blair, wakes up and rates, on his depression scale, how he feels that day. One is pure, unadulterated happiness; five is the beginning of the danger zone; seven is the signal to cancel meetings, stay indoors, avoid people; and when that slips to eight or nine, to get into bed and sleep as much as possible.
He tells Anushka Asthana what it feels like to go through a depressive period, and how he has learned to manage his mental health over the years. Anushka also talks to Campbell’s wife, Fiona Millar, who has been with him for almost 40 years, and their daughter Grace Campbell. They discuss the toll his depression has had on their family and how seeking professional help – 20 years after he had a nervous breakdown, aged 28 – was a turning point in his recovery.
Living Better: How I Learned to Survive Depression, by Alastair Campbell, is published on 3 September by John Murray at £16.99. Buy a copy for £14.78 from guardianbookshop.com.
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