From the brink of suicide to being voted one of the best new magicians in the country, it has been a tough two years for Eddie Young.
Reporter HELEN KREFT spoke to the Burton conjuror who is reaching out to others suffering with depression to say ‘there is a light at the end of the tunnel’ — of which he is living proof
YOU wouldn’t think that hidden in the sprawling estates of Branston is one of the UK’s best new magicians who has been through a rollercoaster of emotions since being diagnosed with depression just two years ago.
While still being affected by the illness, Eddie Young believes he is fast recovering thanks to his unusual hobby which has delighted hundreds of children (and adults) since he started taking his talent seriously.
The 40-year-old is now a member of Derby Magic Circle.
“The depression is still there but I am so much better than I was,” he said.
Two years ago, he was out of work, unable to leave his house and contemplating suicide.
Then two chance meetings led to his life changing for the better.
Eddie, who attended both Lansdowne and Paget schools, said: “I used to do a few card tricks when I was about 10, just making cards appear and disappear. But it was never serious, never a passion.
“I’ve always enjoyed it, though, and I’m one of those uncles, making coins disappear and reappear behind my nephew’s ear, that kind of thing.”
But his wife, Debbie, 35, remembered her husband’s skill with tricks and bought him a magic set to try to occupy his mind and give him something to do.
“My wife saw the signs (of depression) as she worked in healthcare. I went to my doctor. After two or three months in depression, my GP said ‘you have to get out and about’.
“Once you’re in that rut, you don’t want to get up, or go out. You have anxiety, worry, doubt, and get frustrated with the wrong people.”
However, he took the doctor’s advice and started going out — one of the first ventures was a fun day organised by the local police.
He said: “I was standing in a line doing coin tricks for my five-year-old son, Josh.
“Two people approached me and said they were from the Magic Circle, but I was sceptical.
“Then, a while later, I was at a children’s birthday party with my son and I started doing tricks and had about 10 to 15 children around me.
“One of my son’s friend’s parents said I was really good and said I should audition for the Magic Circle. She was a friend and I trusted her.
“It was the scariest audition ever, but the president told me I had something, that I was a ‘diamond in the rough’. He arranged for me to go to his house every Thursday evening to learn more.
“I have been doing that for two years now.” Six months after his Magic Circle audition he went again and was accepted.
“The Magic Circle is great because you get to be around real professionals, big names. I learn a lot from them.”
Eddie has now set up his own company Phat Magic and performs at weddings and parties. He has also attended events with the Royal Military Police, various charities and the Brownies.
I have always been fascinated by the secret world of magicians and jumped at the chance to be tricked.
There were no rabbits in hats and, thankfully, I wasn’t sawn in half, but Eddie has an abundance of card tricks literally up his sleeve, each more complicated to perform than the next.
You learn that not only is it about coming up with your own tricks, but also about the finished product and how you speak to your audience.
Despite my persistence, Eddie did not give away any of the tricks of the trade — he has taken the Magic Circle’s oath of secrecy.
His talent has been growing to the point where Debbie begged for a magic-free holiday when they recently headed to Cyprus.
She said: “He couldn’t do it — he even found a magic shop.”
Eddie, who has gone back to work as an IT desktop support engineer, said: “I want to say there are ways to get out of depression with the right opportunity — and I am getting there.
“Magic has definitely helped me. It took my mind off what was going on. It helped me re-focus.
“I would recommend depressed people find something to take their mind off what’s causing the issue.
“Get a hobby you like to do.
“It is hard, I am not going to say it is easy, but if you have a great family and friends then it can be achieved.
“Magic is a hobby at the moment, but I want to do it full time. It is enjoyable and it is about the reactions you get from people, it releases endorphins.”
He was named as the best newcomer during the Magic Circle’s annual dinner but didn’t attend due to his depression, thinking he wasn’t worthy of the accolade.
“I was really surprised when I won. I didn’t know I was up for an award. I was invited to the annual dinner but didn’t want to go as the depression is still there — but I hope to go next year.”