Clondalkin councillor speaks publicly for the first time about MS diagnosis and battle with depression

by Mark O'Brien
Mark Ward

A Clondalkin councillor has opened up about his battle with depression after he was diagnosed with Multiple-Sclerosis (MS).

Cllr Mark Ward (SF) was diagnosed with MS in 2005 but has signed up to run this year’s Dublin City Marathon to raise awareness about the illness.

He said that he particularly wants to raise awareness, particularly for young people who are recently diagnosed.

Cllr Ward, who was speaking publicly about his illness for the first time, said he slipped into depression after his initial diagnosis.

This led to him losing his job and his physical health deteriorated to the point that he was using a walking stick within a year of his diagnosis.

“After losing another job, I found myself unemployed for the first time in my life,” he said.

“The shame I felt as a man that always provided for his family multiplied the other issues in my life. I had a complete mental and physical breakdown.

Cllr Ward said the fear of losing his children triggered him to seek help.

“The first change was the easiest and also the hardest,” he said.

“I began to talk.”

He changed his diet, started exercising and stopped drinking alcohol. He also enrolled in a course at UCD.

He said he wants to help raise awareness for others who have been diagnosed with MS by running the marathon later this year.

“I was diagnosed at 31, on a walking stick by 32 and had myself convinced I was on the scrapheap at 33. Today I am healthy, mentally and physically.”

 

To read the full story, pick up your copy of the West Edition of Dublin Gazette this Thursday

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