Award-winning Daily Mail columnist Allison Pearson has today stepped down from her weekly slot in the paper after confessing, in a candid final article, to her struggle with depression.
Pearson reveals in her last column that she has recently consulted a psychiatrist and when asked if she has ever had suicidal thoughts said: “Sometimes, I think it would be easier not to be. Not to be dead. I have two children, I can’t leave them. But just to stop, you know. To not exist for a while. Sometimes, not existing, that would be really nice.”
Describing Depression as “the curse of my generation”, Pearson writes about the phenomenom of “Sandwich Woman” who finds herself “in the middle of two demanding generations”.
She writes: “Sandwich Woman postponed having her first baby till her 30s to get her career established. She and her partner couldn’t afford a house to raise kids in on one salary, so she had to keep working.
“Then, just as Sandwich Woman got the kids sleeping through the night, one of her parents fell ill. As the modern family is so dispersed, chances are your mum and dad don’t live round the corner any more.
“So Sandwich Woman had to drive hundreds of miles to keep an eye on a confused or ailing parent, then race back again to collect the kids from school. Somewhere in between there was a job to be taken care of. And a man.”
She adds: “Is it women who are mad, or is it the society we live in? We always suspected there would be a price for Having It All, and we were happy to pay it; but we didn’t know the cost would be our mental health.”
Pearson will be replaced in the Wednesday slot by Sandra Parsons, who edited The Times’ T2 second section until it was axed last month.
Signing off with an admission that she will be a first-time Conservative voter at next week’s general election, Pearon says: “The thousands of stories you sent in – teachers ignoring barmy diktats from on high and continuing to give children a real education, crazy coppers who still think their job is to protect the public and fight crime – were a weekly reminder of the Britain that I love.
“She is not dead but sleepeth. Now, all we need is a leader with the guts to wake her up.”
Pearson, a previous winnner of the British Press Awards critic of the year and interviewer of the year, took over the Daily Mail’s weekly Wednesday column in 2005 from newspaper great, Lynda Lee-Potter.
At the time editor Paul Dacre said: “Allison is in a class of her own. She is possessed of a sharp intelligence combined with a mischievous sense of humour and a warm understanding of the problems facing so many families.”
The Independent media diary speculated earlier this month that Pearson was being targeted for a return to her former paper the Daily Telegraph.