Ex-Norwich chef on how poetry helped him beat depression

Kathryn Hockey and Louis McIntosh, who are producing the Black Dawg book about depression.

Kathryn Hockey and Louis McIntosh, who are producing the Black Dawg book about depression. - Credit: Archant

A former chef who battled depression for two years hopes to raise £8,000 to publish an illustrated book which describes his experience of the illness.

Louis McIntosh, who was born and bred in Norwich but now lives in Spain, has written a poem about the effects depression can have on people, and is producing a book with accompanying illustrations.

The illustration work has been carried out by Kathryn Hockey – a friend of Mr McIntosh who has also had depression.

Mr McIntosh, has named the book The Black Dawg – a title inspired by Winston Churchill, who suffered from depression and reportedly named the illness 'the black dog'.

The poem starts by describing Mr McIntosh's descent into depression, before ending on a hopeful note as the 61-year-old improves his mental health.

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Mr McIntosh, who worked as a chef on private yachts and now lives in Vejer de la Frontera, in the Andalucia region of Spain, said: 'I am motivated by a passionate need to articulate depression and diffuse the stigma around it, and I hope that fellow sufferers will recognise their symptoms and realise they are not alone.

'I also hope that reading The Black Dawg may help friends and family to better understand the dark journey that their loved ones take unwillingly.'

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He said he suffered from depression for two years and wrote the poem towards the end of that period, which proved to be an effective therapy, adding: 'By writing the poem I felt like I was exorcising my demons.'

To donate towards Mr McIntosh's book, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theblackdawg/1641413953?token=01b4558a

Have you got a mental health story? Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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