Former Corrie star and recent I’m A Celebrity contestant Helen Flanagan has revealed to TV Biz today that she once considered committing suicide by crashing her car.
Helen revealed that her dark thoughts came while she was still in Coronation Street playing the role of Rosie Webster. She of course left the show after being crippled by debilitating panic attacks and depression.
But of why she’s decided to reveal her suicidal thoughts now, Helen said, “If someone reads this interview and thinks they may be suffering depression or any other mental illness, I hope it inspires them to go and seek help and not try and hide away.”
She continued, “I’ve suffered from anxiety since I was a little girl. I was about 15 when I developed an eating disorder…
“I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder quite a few years ago and used to take tablets to help keep that in check. I also take medication for bipolar.
“One day I was on the Corrie set and a cast member — who was also a friend — joked, ‘Helen Flanagan — she rattles when she walks!’
“It really hurt me. I went home that night and cried my eyes out.
“I stopped taking my medication for a year and a half and didn’t tell anyone. It was the worst thing I could have done.
“I was up and down all the time and it just spiralled out of control.
“One day I was driving into the ITV studios and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I just crashed my car now and it was all over?’
“After that I knew I had to quit Corrie and get some help.
“I had some counselling and found that works for me. I am now more comfortable with it and know it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
“I’ve never discussed it publicly before because I’ve always been a bit embarrassed.
“I wouldn’t have done I’m A Celebrity a year ago, but I knew I was ready to do it now. I’ve got my anxiousness under control and my meds keep the bipolar and ADD under control as well.
“It was a real test for me though and I learned a lot about myself.”
However, Helen revealed that she nearly quit the show in its early days.
She said, “I wondered whether I should walk.
“I thought, ‘Am I just humiliating myself here? Am I humiliating my boyfriend and family?’
“I tried my best at every trial. On the Rat Race trial I just had a complete mental block. I froze and was petrified…
“I was pleased that I actually stood up for myself and said, ‘Enough is enough!’
“This time last year my anxiety was so bad I couldn’t even go into Starbucks and order a latte because I’d worked myself up so much.”
Helen continued, “It felt like I was leaving the last bit of ‘youthful Helen’ behind as I grew up so much in there.
“I was desperate to try and put on a brave face for the cameras.
“When I saw my mum that was it though, I just couldn’t hold it in any longer and when I saw my dad I bawled my eyes out — I’m a real daddy’s girl.”
And of reports that she refused to carry out any interviews once she’d left the jungle, Helen said, “When you leave the jungle there’s a camera shoved in your face and it follows you continuously.
“I wanted a break. I just couldn’t do the interviews that day as I was so tired and emotional.
“Producers sat me down and showed me a video that said, ‘Helen Flanagan — the most hated celebrity ever!’
“I was gobsmacked. I know some people were saying I was playing a game not doing the tasks, but I was genuinely terrified.
“It’s a really serious thing so for people to say I was having a breakdown just because I was a bit emotional that day. It was cruel.”
However, Helen concluded, “I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute of my time in camp.”
Here’s a reminder of her leaving the jungle…