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People Stories
Neil Cole
Former Politician, Playwright.
Consumer Advisor at the Mental Health Research Institute.
Here Neil Cole shares a little of his experience with depression with us...

After years of problems, particularly with Depression I was finally diagnosed with Manic Depresssion in 1993. I was a Member of Parliament at the time and very much in a high profile position. Lithium help me dramatically to stabalise my mood however I did suffer quite severe depression.

The depressions had been there before though I had never known them as such.

Subsequent to my diagnosis I ended up in hospital with depression. It was a difficult time and one that has caused me to reflect many times on the debilitating nature of depression.

With the help of medication and counselling I have been able to live a reasonably content and fulfilled life, though from time to time I have had my problems with depression.

Depression is nothing to be ashamed of it is to be treated.

    - Neil Cole
    November 2000

Neil Cole graduated from Law at Melbourne University in 1980 and was the Member for Melbourne in the Legislative Assembly.

Neil had suffered from manic-depressive mood swings for years before being properly diagnosed, and was subsequently "outed" as mentally ill by his political enemies. However it was after he had publicly announced his Bi-Polar depressive illness that he was re-elected in his seat of Melbourne. While there were definitely other factors at work, what is significant about his re-election is that the people didn't vote against him because of his illness.
We can, and do, lead productive and successful lives with depression effectively managed.

Neil's experiences in managing his illness and peoples' misunderstandings of it are the basis of his play, "Alive at Williamstown Pier".



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