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Neighbours' Jodi Gordon has opened up about her experiences with depression and alcohol dependence.
The star, who played Elly Conway between 2016 and 2020 and also starred in Home And Away as Martha Mackenzie, discussed her recent 30-day stay in a rehab facility in an interview with Stellar Magazine, sharing that she was in a "really dark place".
"There were no smiles at the start of those 30 days," she said.
"To find yourself in a place where you have multiple people making the decision for you that you have to admit yourself into a rehab, that's not a place where you're smiling."
She continued: "I learnt so much through connection but also through the tools that you gain in how to start to deal with that pain, that trauma, how to break it down, coping mechanisms. And how, once you exit that rehab facility, to start implementing those tools into your life and restructure and build a bigger, better life."
Opening up about what things were like before rehab, Gordon said that alcohol was her "poison".
"I've chased this illusion that I can drink like a normal person for far too long," she said. "It got really bad when I was doing Neighbours... In my industry, I think there's a lot of keeping up with appearances. I was trying to present something beyond [what] I could pretend to control, trying to do my best, but just sinking.
"I think I got to a point where the depression really started to sink in. I spiralled into a place of really negative thoughts within myself."
She added: "I'd been in this really dark place of depression on and off over the years. But the place that I was in before I went into rehab was a really dark place.
"It's a place where I was so far down this well – which is what I call it – that it's really hard to think, to hear, to see any form of light or to be able to connect with anyone, let alone to reach out or talk to anyone.
"I let someone help me make that choice and I booked myself in begrudgingly, but within a couple of days, I knew I was right where I belonged."
When asked how she was feeling right now, Gordon said that it was like "been given a second shot at life both internally and externally in terms of a new path, a new chapter".
"I know that's all clichéd talk," she added, "but when you dive deep into the dark problems that you have, when you can come out the other end of that, I think there's freedom and liberation in that. I feel like second chances are on the table."
Gordon departed from the Ramsay Street soap in 2020, but will be back for the show's final episodes. Her on-screen sister Bonnie Anderson, who plays Bea Nilsson, will also be returning to Erinsborough.
If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov.
Alcohol Change UK offers information, advice and support with their questions about drinking and the problems that can sometimes be caused by alcohol. For more information, visit Alcohol Change UK's website. Drinkline also offers free, confidential advice to anyone who is concerned about their own or someone else's drinking on 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am–8pm, weekends 11am–4pm).
Readers can also contact Drinkaware.
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