Straw writes of his 'mental crisis'
Sunday 23 September 2012
Jack Straw has spoken of the "mental crisis" brought on by the breakdown in his parents' marriage, the onset of deafness and the death of his baby daughter more than 30 years ago.
In a serialisation of his autobiography, Last Man Standing: Memoirs of a Political Survivor, in the Daily Mail, Mr Straw catalogues a childhood during which he once found his father trying to kill himself in the family kitchen.
The former home and foreign secretary and Labour Party veteran said that his 33 years as an MP have been marked by "traumas and tragedies, sorrows and disappointments".
In the book, he speaks of running away from boarding school and being caned by his head teacher, after which he concluded: "The best way of surviving was to be numb inside. It was an approach I adopted until my mid-30s."
Mr Straw and his first wife, Anthea, lost their baby daughter Rachel in 1976, three days after she was born. It is a blow from which, Mr Straw writes, he has never recovered. "I very rarely cry. It made me cry to write this, 36 years after this poor, innocent, beautiful little girl's passing," he says.
The couple were separated soon after, and Mr Straw married his second wife Alice in 1978. After a flight to Paris, he found he was deaf in one ear.
"Suddenly, everything came to a head. [I had] the sense that I was not worthy and that everything I had achieved was bound to be taken away from me … I fell into a serious depression, accompanied by terrible nightmares."
But regular psychoanalysis, Mr Straw writes, has been key to getting him back on track. "I'm in no doubt that but for his help I would have found the challenges of my adult life very much more difficult."
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
Mike Tyson branded 'superhero' after a surprise good turn
Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser
Review: Mike Leigh's biopic is a rambling, rich character study
Want to ward off (or welcome) trick-or-treaters? Here's how
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...
£20000 - £45000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd...