Linda Robson health: ‘I wanted to die’ – Star on her ‘terrible’ past health conditions
Loose Women: Linda Robson says she doesn’t watch the news
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Opening up about both her physical and mental health problems during an episode of Loose Women when she returned to the show in 2020, Robson detailed how she battled obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety and depression which a six-week stint in rehab helped her to overcome. At first the star thought that her problems stemmed from alcohol, but after working through her issues she found that it was a reaction to a particular antidepressant that was contributing to making her so ill.
“It felt like I wanted to die because I wasn’t enjoying life like I used to,” Robson told The Sun, revealing more about the breakdown she experienced whilst on holiday with her costars Stacey Solomon, Nadia Sawalha, Andrea McLean, Kaye Adams and Saira Khan.
“I had reached breaking point and the reason I’m telling you this now is because I want anyone else who might be feeling the same way to read this and know that they’re not alone and that things can get better for them too. They just have to accept help, like I did.
“Stacey came with me. I was in a terrible state, so we played games on her phone just to try to distract me. I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do? Where am I going?’
“I was scared, embarrassed and ashamed because my kids had been told their mum was in a state and [needed] help.
“When we got to the clinic, they all met us there and when I saw their worried faces all I could think of was, ‘Oh no, what have I done to them?'”
Explaining more about how she first started on the tablets that contributed to her health issues, Robson said that her OCD had reached severe levels.
She said: “I went to see somebody about it and they gave me a tablet.
“But I had a really bad reaction to it. I had a proper meltdown, I got really bad anxiety, I got really bad depression and my OCD kicked into overdrive.
“My doctor said you’ve had the worst reaction to this medication that I’ve ever seen. So then I came off, but you have to come off slowly so it took a while for me to feel normal again.”
The NHS explains that OCD is a common mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. Often distressing, the condition can significantly interfere with your life, but treatment can help you keep it under control.
An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease. A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to do to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought.
“I am only allowed to do so many washes a day,” revealed Robson, who said that at one point she had to be locked inside her house while her family contacted the police.
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“I was washing my bedclothes every day, I used to do it once a week, which was fine, but then I started to do it every day. It does completely consume your life.”
OCD has various treatment options, two of which are mainly used:
- Psychological therapy – usually cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which helps you face your fears and obsessive thoughts without “putting them right” through compulsions
- Medicine – usually a type of antidepressant medicine called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which can help by altering the balance of chemicals in your brain.
The NHS warns that CBT will usually have an effect fairly quickly but it can take several months before you notice the effects of treatment with SSRIs.
After tackling her OCD and finishing rehab, the COVID-19 lockdown caused more problems for Robson, who said that she “hit rock bottom”.
Speaking to the Daily Star, Robson revealed how Loose Women helped to save her: “During the first couple of weeks of lockdown, I was so depressed.
“I was stuck indoors, I couldn’t go and see my grandchildren. My sister and my niece both had breast cancer and I couldn’t even go to see them.
“But then we went back to work on the show five weeks after the first lockdown and that was our saving grace. Loose Women has helped me through some really tough times.”
For confidential mental health support call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans, or email: [email protected] for a reply within 24 hours. Alternatively, text “SHOUT” to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line, or text “YM” if you’re under 19.
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