The Strictly Come Dancing contestant, whose character Dawn Swann was written out of the BBC soap in August 2009, shocked The News of the World by revealing just how greatly a lack of acting offers had affected her.
"I'll be honest, I've felt suicidal," Tointon said. "I know that sounds dramatic but it's really tough out there. You're used to being busy and then, all of a sudden, you're not. It's the worst thing ever.
"Acting-wise it's been on its knees. It's a disaster out there. It's been so, so difficult. I've thought about giving up acting for good many times. When you're working, it feels worth all the hanging around. But during the down times, you're just waiting for the phone to ring - it's awful. I find myself staring at the phone, thinking: 'Won't you just ring?!' And it doesn't."
She continued: "When I started on EastEnders it was a different world. People such as Tamzin Outhwaite were able to leave the show and have a lot of opportunities in front of them. But I came out of it at the worst time because drama is being cut in favour of reality shows and, until it picks up again, it's going to be tough. I just pray that it gets easier so I can move on."
Tointon added that her post-Eastenders struggles were intensified by her split from long-term partner and former co-star Joe Swash.
"All break-ups are horrible, but Joe and I are OK now. I love him to bits, but we both realised it just wasn't going to work. Now, we're so close that we speak practically every day. It's great we're able to do that and have managed to stay friends."
However, the 27-year-old expressed hope that her Strictly stint would help turn her career around, although she ruled out finding love again with dance partner Artem Chigvinsen.
She said: "He's rather gorgeous, isn't he? During the launch show, when we were teamed up with our partners for the first time, I got a little bit flustered. I nearly fainted, actually! He's a Russian hunk and really lovely.
"But we're going to be strictly professional and just learn how to dance. There'll be none of that. I'm enjoying a little bit of time to myself without having to worry about anything else."
Tointon previously stated that she missed working on Eastenders despite feeling that her character had nothing left to contribute to the show.
Kara Tointon denies 'Strictly' romance