Drawing on the highs and lows of her tumultuous journey as a woman in the international performing industry, West Belfast born actor, broadcaster and singer, Pauline Carville, is finally ready to break her silence to inspire others not to make the same mistakes as she did in her tell-all book, Am I Mad or What?.
Released on Thursday, March 9, the official biographical novel is a compelling tale written from Pauline’s first-hand experience of mental breakdowns, personal tragedy and overcoming struggles, touching the hearts of many across Northern Ireland, a country reported having the highest prevalence of mental health problems in the UK.
From a young age, Pauline always believed she had a story to tell but after her one-woman performance at the Belfast Fringe Festival in 2011, the actress was knocked back but 11 years later, she feels she is ready to ‘let it go’.
“I wrote the book as I felt like I had a story to tell that could help others. I had talked about telling my story for many years and I did write it originally as a short fifty-minute one-woman show that I performed in The Belfast Fringe Festival back in 2011.
“Unfortunately, performing it knocked me back into a depression for a few years, so I needed to be ready to tackle it once again,” she said.
As a trained actor and singer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and The Royal Academy of Music, Pauline paints an emotive picture in her writing about how her skyrocketing professional career securing international acting roles alongside Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen and West End legend Trevor Nunn, was synonymous with her mental breakdown in 2001.
“I did manage to have a successful performing career all whilst battling with severe anxiety and depression from the age of fifteen when my daddy had died the year before. It changed everything in our family and it was a terrible shock as he had been found dead under strange circumstances.
“I went to three different GPs and I would do all that was advised, go to the gym, go for walks but after years of therapy, I got to the stage where suicidal thoughts were my daily life. I began planning ways to die.”
By giving readers a truthful depiction of her reality beyond the stage, Pauline hopes that they will learn that they aren’t alone in anything that they are currently experiencing and to always keep the conversation open with loved ones when it comes to talking about mental health.
“I hope that readers will realise that keeping something as serious as depression hidden had actually made things much worse. The longer that I hid my feelings, the longer it took to recover.
“I hope that anyone reading my book will not make the same mistake that I did and go and get the help they need,” she said.
Despite her book’s inclusion of the struggles Pauline faced, she also shares the many happy memories and funny anecdotes in the book, including the heart-warming story of how she met her husband and fellow broadcaster, Robin Elliott and the thrilling story of how a New York psychic conned her out of thousands.
Pauline’s book, Am I Mad or What?, priced £9.99, can be purchased from Excalibur Press excaliburpress.co.uk/product-category/books