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Author Ann Cleeves says husband felt like a stranger as he was consumed by depression and alarming delusions

© Amanda Benson/BBC Radio 4/PA WireAnn Cleeves
Ann Cleeves

Writer Ann Cleeves has spoken of the struggle of watching her husband being consumed by depression and alarming delusions.

The creator of detective Vera and the Shetland stories left community work in London for the Shetland islands, where she met her husband Tim.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island discs, she said: “There were times where I would be lying next to Tim in bed and it felt like I was lying next to a stranger. I didn’t know him.

“I remember going in (to hospital), and one of the charge nurses said ‘don’t worry we’ll get him back for you’, and not really believing her. But they did get him back and he was properly diagnosed.

“There were times where he thought he was Jesus and he could cure the neighbour’s cat. But they did get him back.”

Cleeves also said that writing genre fiction has also given her comfort and stability after she was diagnosed with cancer.

And she believes crime fiction is reassuring.

She said: “In some sense, in this time of confusion and chaos that we’re living through, there is something very reassuring about traditional crime fiction – order restored at the end, justice seen to be done.”