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Australian Singer-Songwriter Melody Pool On Living With Depression

A powerful 'Australian Story' puts the spotlight on youth mental illness.

20/02/2017 12:39 PM AEDT | Updated 20/02/2017 5:03 PM AEDT
Mark Farnell
Melody Pool opens up about living with depression on ABC's 'Australian Story.'

Melody Pool was told twice by doctors to 'get over' her depression. Like it was some kind of weakness in her character.

"I didn't know whether I was OCD or bipolar or had autism, like I had no idea what was going on in my head," Pool, a singer-songwriter from Kurri Kurri in New South Wales told The Huffington Post Australia.

"It was almost as if I was in a glass bubble and people were talking to me and I could hear them and I could hear what they were saying but it wasn't sinking in," Pool said.

The 25-year-old, who has been heralded by critics as one of the best songwriters in the country, reached breaking point one night when she was alone in her home.

"I sat on the kitchen floor and I had a steak knife in my hand," Pool said.

"I don't know what I was going to do, I was just so mad and this was the sharpest thing in my house that I could attack myself with."

"And then I was like 'no', this is not right, this is not a normal night. I need help."

It was this moment that drove Pool to seek the advice of another doctor who thankfully did not turn her away, but diagnosed her with clinical depression and put her on medication.

"It was like seeing colour again," Pool explains.

"I can't believe I went four years feeling like that every single day and thinking that it was normal."

Pool's story is being told on ABC's 'Australian Story' on Monday night and casts a sharp focus on youth mental illness and the need for more dialogue around the topic.

According to Beyond Blue, anxiety affects one in six young Australians and depression affects one in sixteen. Like Pool, many people living with such conditions do so silently and alone.

Mushroom
Anxiety affects one in six young Australians.

From the outside Pool had a budding career, touring and supporting the likes of the Eagles and Rodriguez, but when the music stopped she was riddled with self-doubt following a painful breakup and completely disconnected from the world.

"I remember when I first moved in with my current roommate, I told her about [my depression] and she said to me, 'I would have never guessed that about you,'" Pool said.

"She had absolutely no idea and said, 'I thought you were a happy bubbly girl all the time' and you know, that's how I hid it," Pool said.

Pool admits one of the worst things she does when she is sick is not tell anyone and pretend things are fine.

A lot of people think that tough love can be the thing that gets someone out of their depression but a lot of the time it just doesn't work, and in fact for me, it made me even sicker.Melody Pool

Her advice if you think somebody might be struggling with a mental illness? "Just be there."

She added: "A lot of people think that tough love can be the thing that gets someone out of their depression but a lot of the time it just doesn't work, and in fact for me, it made me even sicker.

"Research mental illness and try and be as understanding, compassionate and patient as you can." Pool said.

Today Pool reveals she is in a much better place having decided to step away from music, and the pressure that comes with it for a while.

"This has been my job and my life for nearly 10 years and as a 25-year-old that's a huge chunk of my life," Pool said.

"I'm looking forward to sort of figuring out who I am without it."

'Unchained Melody' premieres on Australian Story, 8pm Monday 20 February on ABC and ABC iview.

If you or anyone you know needs help:

Lifeline on 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36

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