I left a trail of destruction behind me, in terms of let-down friends and broken relationships. For me, my early involvement in politics gave my life meaning. But eventually those elements fell away. First, I felt I lost my soul, then my work didn't come naturally any more. It began to feel alien. Then I ceased to be able to work and lost my energy, eventually breaking down and becoming profoundly depressed. Everyone assumes I got depressed because of the scandal. Actually, I had been depressed for two years, from around 1996. I thought I had a physical virus.
I'd always been quite arrogant and cocky, but I think I put all my unhappiness into my obsession with the Labour Party. The really spectacular breakdown came two years into my depression with the lobbying thing. That was the killer and I was admitted to the Priory; then I started to get better. I am over it now, though. I haven't been depressed for years, since just before I met Kate, who has changed me for the better anyway. I got rid of my depression by doing a lot of intensive therapy, taking the prescribed anti-depressants, doing yoga and finding solace in prayer, because I eventually realised I had been masking the depression for years with overwork, drinking or womanising.
[My obsession with work and politics] and the power-playing that went with it, and the drink, drugs and promiscuity, were all toys and inside, unbeknownst to me, the little child part of me was in the driving seat... Far from being the Master of the Universe I was more like the tyrant in the playroom. It was only when I reconnected to the child part of me, and was able to offer him the love and stability he craved, that he began to calm down, and my life began to settle. The point is that therapists are always working on themselves, just as much as they are helping their patients to work on themselves. Hopefully, it will make me not only a better therapist but a better husband and a better father. We are healers, not heroes. The old Derek is no more. This is the new Derek.