Monty Don: Gardeners’ World host opens up on ‘bleak’ health battle ‘It got worse’

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Monty Don, 70, spoke on living with depression that can be worse in the winter when it begins to feel “bleak” outdoors. The host of Gardeners’ World has divulged that he has felt better over the “last few years”, as he admitted his “physical connection” with nature can exacerbate his mental health condition.

It’s real grief

Monty Don

Monty revealed: “I have for many years, suffered from depression, which comes and goes but tends to be something that is worse in winter.

“And, touch wood, it’s been much better for the last few years. 

“But for me, the benefits of nature are all about the physical connection with the rhythm of the natural world.”

The garden expert explained how the earth’s rhythm can be “bleak” during the winter and that can have an effect on him.

Monty continued: “Some of that rhythm is bleak – winter is cold. 

“And yet even if inside you are bleak and grey and cold, if you believe that spring will blossom inside you, as well as outside in the garden, that’s powerful, “ he added to the BBC.

Monty previously shared that the depression that had impacted his life had also afflicted his father Denis.

The Gardeners’ World presenter described his father as being a “frightening figure” and worried at times his dad would take his own life when he struggled through “deep depressive fits”.

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Study in brown

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Monty’s father had served in the armed forces and has previously “killed people”, although the garden expert shared that he was not an “aggressive” person by nature.

Monty shared: “He was an army heavyweight boxing champion and a commando and had been through the war.

“He had killed people. He was not in any way aggressive but it was a latent … He was a scary man. 

“You didn’t mess with him and he had these deep depressive fits when he wouldn’t talk to anyone, “ he added to The Times.

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As Monty reached his teenage years he began to fear his father was close to suicide.

“I remember my mother telling me to go take the bolt out of the gun so he couldn’t shoot himself.

“I remember thinking, ‘this is quite heavy’, but doing it. With hindsight, I don’t think he would have shot himself.”

Earlier this year, Monty faced personal heartache after his beloved dog Nigel passed away.

Back in May, Monty’s other golden retriever died after suffering “violent, unstoppable seizures”.

The dog made regular appearances on BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World and even lent his name to Monty’s book Nigel: My Family and Other Dogs.

Monty told The Times: “It’s a proper bereavement. It’s true love and, as with losing anyone you love, it’s real grief. The only good thing is that he had a long life, a happy life, and no illness.

“He suddenly started fitting one night and it got worse and worse and he had a brain tumour and that was it.”

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at jo@samaritans.org, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch. 

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