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Monday, 7 January, 2002, 20:07 GMT
Blair's spin doctor talks of breakdown
Alastair Campbell
Mr Campbell describes how his breakdown affected him
Tony Blair's director of communications, Alastair Campbell, has spoken of the time he had a nervous breakdown describing it as a "24 carat crack-up".

He said that the breakdown felt like a "sheet of glass cracking into thousands of pieces" inside his head.

I hit the bottle pretty hard, got completely manic and cracked

Alastair Campbell
Mr Campbell spoke out as part of an exhibition by the Mind Out in Mental Health campaign in central London.

His breakdown came in 1986 when he was news editor of the Sunday edition of the then newly launched Today newspaper owned by Eddie Shah.

Mr Campbell said: "I hit the bottle pretty hard, got completely manic and cracked."

He said he found himself doing a number of bizarre things.

On one occasion he put "all my possessions in a pile in the foyer of the building I was in".

He also realised that he had been consuming "vast amounts" of alcohol - he has since become teetotal.

But the experience allowed him the opportunity to rebuild his life.

"I feel about the whole breakdown business that it is where I sorted myself out - personally, politically, professionally, everything," he said.

Mr Campbell is just one of a number of well known figures to contribute to the exhibition.


Comedian Paul Merton had a six week spell in the Maudsley psychiatric hospital in South London after a "manic episode".

And former EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer suffered a breakdown in 1997.

The exhibition is being held at the galleryatoxo on London's South Bank for 10 days from 7 February.

See also:

17 Nov 01 | UK Politics
Mowlam savages 'presidential' Blair
12 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Campbell to leave frontline
12 Apr 01 | UK Politics
Spin doctor makes his own headlines
08 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Blair receives Hammond report
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