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Finding A Way Through Depression

Kayla McNabb, known as K'Lee, was a pop star while still at school.

Her big musical break came in 2001 when at just 16, her cover of Mister Mister's hit Broken Wings soared to No 2 on the New Zealand singles chart.

She backed it up with another three top 20 hits before heading to the US.

Moving To LA

When the local pop princess moved to the US she was living the dream, gigging at glamorous nightclubs and the toast of Hollywood parties.

"I was young and going out and gigging and jamming at the Conga Room, at the House of Blues at Universal CityWalk, loads of Hollywood parties," she said.

"It was just amazing," K'Lee said.

As a teen sensation, she toured with superstars including Pink, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes and Cypress Hill.

She even began a relationship with a DJ for US rap superstar Coolio, famous for hits including Gangsta's Paradise.

"But then there is also the real side of it . . . like being in a drive-by."

Drive-By Shooting

Her home in Los Angeles suburb Long Beach was turned into a scene more resembling hell when it was sprayed with bullets in a nighttime drive-by shooting.

She and her then partner, DJ Enrique Vasquez, cheated death by inches.

They were sleeping on a mattress on the floor because they were packing up to leave the following day.

A musician who moved into the home was associated with the Crips gang, and Vasquez feared that could attract the attention of the rival Bloods.

Her partner moved everything out and broke the bed down, he said, "we'll stay one more night and then we are out of here."

Several hours later a slow-driving car passed the property in the night.

One of its occupants unloaded a clip of bullets from a high-powered assault rifle into the home.

The gunfire sprayed through their bedroom window at bed height.

"It was just as well we broke the bed down and were lying on a mattress, because the bullets from the machine gun went right through the house," K'Lee said.

When Depression Hits

K'Lee tells her story in a series of three You Tube videos, paraphrased here.

Her relationship with her partner was not a happy one.

"I was the only one in the US, I had no family, no friends and for the first few years it was fun, it was a new adventure.

Then after a couple of years it started dawning on me that I didn't have anybody to talk to.

I realized that my life was taking a different turn and I was very lonely, I didn't have anybody to express my concerns to.

It took even more of a toll after I had my two children in Los Angeles and I realized that this wasn't the life I wanted.

I slowly started being a recluse -- I'd stay inside all day and wouldn't want to leave the house.

If I let the kids outside I'd sit on the stairs and watch them play in driveway.

I was quite withdrawn, I wouldn't talk to anybody about anything because I didn't think that anybody understood what I was going through or how I felt.

I guess that put me further and further back into a hole that I felt I couldn't get out of.

I was too embarrassed to talk to my family about it 'cos I thought, oh, my gosh, I put myself in this position, it's my problem, I need to try and fix it.

And I had no idea how to fix it.  It was a really lonely moment.

I realized that I was in a really dark place when my children were crying and crying and crying and I had just finished a gig.

I was at such a low point I felt so down, stressed out and so upset that I put them both in their bed and I shut the door.

They were screaming and crying and I locked their door and I just sat by their door and I just cried.

I couldn't call anybody.

I had no one and that was the lowest point.  

K'Lee eventually found a wonderful friend who she could share her situation with and who helped her rebuild her confidence.

After seven years in LA she decided to leave her unhappy relationship and move back home to New Zealand with her son aged two and her daughter aged one.

Back Home

Back in her homeland, K'Lee is a popular day-time radio DJ.

"It all happened at the right time," she said.

She is still involved in the music scene performing live around New Zealand.

Recovery

"It was hard because I had to leave my children's father behind in another country.

But I look at my children now and they are thriving.

They're happy because they have a happy mother which is great.

Just know that nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

There's always that light at the end of the tunnel.

There's always somebody that can sympathize and understand where you're going because they've experienced the same trauma or situation that you've been through.

You're never alone and I think that's the main thing that people need to remember - you're never alone.

I hope you found K'Lee's story inspiring.

I was always interested to know what happened to her and when I watched her story I thought it would make a great post to share with you.

If you're dealing with depression I hoped this helped you find your way through and made your load a little lighter.

'Til next time.

Wishing you the best of days,

Harley M Storey
"The Life Coach Toolman!"

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