Carol Harrison has revealed that she attempted suicide in her teenage years because witnessing her mother Frances’ mental health battle made the actress ‘desperately unhappy’.
But before her rise to fame, the actress, now 64, took an overdose and spent three months in a psychiatric hospital at the age of 18.
‘I had a breakdown’: EastEnders’ Carol Harrison, 64, revealed she tried to commit suicide at the age of 18 becauseof the pain of witnessing her mother’s own mental health battle
Carol revealed she was driven to take an overdose shortly after her mum fought against the fascists at Cable Street.
However, it was also the television star’s difficult childhood which encouraged her to become an actress because acting allowed her to escape from reality.
Inspiration: The EastEnders star, who played Grant Mitchell’s secret lover Louise Raymond, revealed it was her harrowing home life that spurred her on to become an actress
She explained: ‘That’s why I became an actress. My only escape growing up was to get away from my reality and live in a fantasy.’
The actress recalled how she recognised her mother wasn’t ‘normal’ when she was just six years old.
However, The Brush Strokes star explained her mother had shunned help because she was terrified she would be sent away to a mental institution like her aunt.
Devastating: But before her rise to fame, the actress, 64, now bravely recalled how she took an overdose and spent three months in a psychiatric hospital at the age of 18 (2011, London)
Carol detailed the devastating impact her mother Frances’ struggle with depression and paranoia had on her own mental health.
She said: ‘It was like she was bipolar but without the manic side. She would rant and raven about everyone. I would have to stand up to that and it made me desperately unhappy.’
Also the actress documented her struggle with depression when her first marriage to fellow EastEnders star Jamie Foreman, who played Derek Branning, ended.
But the mother vowed not to give up and to stay strong for their son Alfie, now 28.
Sad: Also the actress documented her struggle with depression when her first marriage to fellow EastEnders star Jamie Foreman, who played Derek Branning, ended (1999)
Carol has had a successful career as an actress on television but she started out on stage working for the National Theatre.
Her first big break in television saw her take on the role of Gloria in the BBC One sitcom Brush Strokes which ran from 1986 until 1991.
Later, Carol transformed into the EastEnders’ character Louise Raymond who had an affair with Grant (Ross Kemp).
Now she returns to the stage again alongside Beverly Callard, Coleen Nolan and Mina Anwar in new stage play The Thunder Girls.
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Winning: Carol has had a successful career as an actress on television but she started out on stage working for the National Theatre