The West

Rebecca Gibney. Picture: Supplied

She weaved her way into the hearts of Australian viewers as TV's lovable mum Julie Rafter but things haven't always been fine and dandy for actress Rebecca Gibney.

Despite her warm and chirpy on-screen persona on the former Seven drama Packed to the Rafters, Gibney reveals that she battled depression and would sometimes have up to 15 panic attacks a day.

Opening up about her struggles with the mental illness, she revealed that at the time she had kept it to herself.

"I couldn't talk about it because I didn't know what was happening to me," she told an Eastern States newspaper.

The 49-year-old also revealed she had considered being admitted to hospital in order to keep her depression at bay.

"I contemplated hospitalisation but I didn't want people to find out," she said. "I remember lying in bed and feeling like the walls were caving in. I felt like I was in the bottom of a pit. Every time I tried to claw my way out, I'd slip back down."

Gibney, who will return to her detective roots with Seven's latest crime thriller The Killing Field, also revealed that she had suffered a breakdown nearly 20 years ago while promoting her show, Halifax f.p, in London.

Following the tour, where she had to take five valium pills before boarding a plane back to Australia, Gibney made weekly visits to a psychiatrist over the next 18 months.

She admits that she still has her "down days".

"I'm lucky. I'm through it but it doesn't mean I don't have down days," she said.

"I just know how to deal with it now."

The West Australian

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