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Author John Boyne on the night he took 'too many pills' after break-up

The Irish author opened up about the night he almost took his own life after the breakdown of his marriage.

File Photo John Boyne
File Photo John Boyne

IRISH AUTHOR JOHN Boyne has opened up about the night he almost took his own life after the break-up of his 11-year marriage.

The author of The Boy In The Striped Pajamas was speaking to Brendan O’Connor on RTÉ Radio 1 this afternoon when he told O’Connor that he felt “worthless” and veered between great pain and sadness after the break-up.

“I’m happy enough to say that I’m the one who got dumped and I did everything in my power to keep it together, with no success.

“Like any relationship, there was ups and downs, in general, I was under the impression that we were 99% solid,” Boyne said.

Cry for help

Boyne told O’Connor that it was a “dark night” when he discovered that his former husband was seeing somebody else.

“I haven’t really talked about this before but it was one of those long, dark nights for the soul, everything really had just caught up with me.

“I knew my ex was seeing someone else and I felt there was no way back, I was distraught, I was absolutely distraught.

“I loved him, and guess still do very much. I felt very worthless and very alone and nothing else just seemed to matter without him there beside me.

“It was probably not that serious in the sense that with everything I took I was phoning an ambulance within half an hour, so maybe subconsciously it was more of a cry for help,” Boyne said.

He says that while the experience has changed him, it made him feel very worthless at the time.

I still kind of feel that way, because he wasn’t there even when it happened.

“That every moment of eleven years when you give them love and then when you’re going through this most terrible thing, where you’re lying in a hospital bed and you call him and he says he’s not going to come.

“He was probably right not to come though, I’m not going to lie, I’ve probably been a complete nightmare but if I was a nightmare it’s because I married somebody who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with,” Boyne said.

The author added that he does not want to feel bitter about his ex-partner.

“I hope I don’t across as sounding horrendous but I think it’s just raw at the moment because the actual dissolution of the divorce is coming through in the next couple of weeks, so it’s very much on my brain.”

Boyne was appearing on the Marian Finucane Show to promote his new book, A ladder to the sky.

If you need to talk, please contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.ie
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s) 

About the author:

Adam Daly

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