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A new ITV documentary by actress Sheridan Smith, 39, is set to air on our screens in September, where she details her struggles with mental health. The West End star speaks about her addiction to anti-anxiety medication and how severe her withdrawal symptoms were when she forced herself to stop taking it.
I seizured five times and got rushed to A&E and she’s the one who got me breathing again
Wanting to share her own experiences to help other women suffering with the same issues, Sheridan revealed she “went off the deep end” during the 2016 BAFTA awards, where she was nominated for The C Word.
Speaking in the documentary, she recalls: “Graham Norton was hosting and made a joke at my expense about me being a drunk.
“I was so humiliated. It’s a room full of your peers, people you want to work with or have worked with.”
She confesses that night was “the final straw” for her.
“What people didn’t realise is that I’d become addicted to anti-anxiety tablets,” she admits.
“That night I took myself off to a hotel on my own. In my crazy mind, I thought, ‘I’ll do it (stop taking the tablets) myself’.
“I went there and just stopped my tablets. Weirdly, a friend of mine had rung me and she came to the hotel.”
The actress describes it as a “miracle” that her friend turned up because she hadn’t realised to severity of the withdrawal symptoms.
She continues: “It’s like someone was looking out for me because what I didn’t realise is that if you stop these tablets abruptly, you seizure.
“I seizured five times and got rushed to A&E and she’s the one who got me breathing again.”
Sheridan, who welcomed her son Billy with fiance Jamie Horn early this summer, now feels “calm” and “contentment” as she focuses on being a mum.
But she recalls her biggest worry was her issues resurfacing while pregnant, something she wants to help other expectant women combat with the raw and personal documentary.
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“At the start of my pregnancy, I’d just got myself to a good place and I thought, ‘Please don’t let this be a turning point where things change for me’,” she says.
“That was my biggest worry.”
The documentary follows Sheridan’s pregnancy journey and viewers will watch her attend her first scans, pre-natal classes and sessions with a specialist therapist, before Billy arrived by emergency caesarean.
Now, she couldn’t be happier as she experiences the wonder it is to be a mum.
“The day he smiled at me was more amazing and emotional even than the day he was born, because you suddenly think, ‘Oh my god – you love me back!’,” she gushes.
“Suddenly all those sleepless nights and all that worry goes out the window.
“You look in those little eyes and the love you feel – it’s like a connection I’ve never felt.”
Sheridan Smith: Becoming Mum airs on Tuesday September 1 at 9pm on ITV.
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