Peter Andre opened up on This Morning about suffering from social anxiety
Peter Andre has revealed that he suffered from social anxiety.
Speaking to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on This Morning earlier today, he opened up about his battle with mental health issues, and that his crippling anxiety used to seriously affect his life.
It wasn't until Robbie Williams' wife Ayda Field opened up about Robbie's struggles that he realised he was suffering from the very same thing.
He said: "This is such an important subject. It manifests itself. Everyone thinks, 'You can't beat it' or, 'It's only going to get worse', and that's exactly what I thought.
"Ayda explained on Loose Women that sometimes if there are red carpet events or if there's a party, that Robbie would cancel last minute or something would happen and he'd freak out and say, 'I can't do it' and I thought, 'That's what I've had all these years'. It was social anxiety.
"I would literally at the last minute ring up my manager and say, 'I can't go' and she'd be like, 'What's wrong?' and I would say anything to get out of it."
Peter explained that his backgroun in Australia may have had something to do with it: "I did have some tough times - being Greek and having an English accent and going to Australia where, at the time, there were no ethnics and yes, we were picked on.
"I had a knife held at me which was really scary, and that's what started the fear of going to nightclubs and things like that where I didn't know my surroundings."
Phillip revealed to the audience that Peter would have up to twenty panic attacks a day - even considering suicide.
He spent almost three weeks in a psychiatric hospital in New York: "It was all-consuming and you can say it's character building and all the rest of it, and made me love my family and friends more.
"It was crippling, but what happens is - once you overcome that part of it - other things happen and you start getting fear of different things and you think this in my life, I've got to accept it. But that's not true."
Peter described how he had been able to work through his problems with the help of medication and therapy: "For the people on the medication who say, 'Yes, I feel great', I agree it can make you feel better, but I think you're just wiping the problem under the carpet."
He went on to give them some heartfelt advice: "You need to talk to somebody about it. Get to the bottom of the problem. I had therapy for years. It all started from Jackie Hunter, who is Rachel Hunter's sister, and she introduced me to someone in America that didn't believe in medication at all and she started saying to me, 'You don't need it, you have to get to the bottom of the problem'.
"Once you understand the problem, you can learn to deal with it. For me, I needed that medication to get me to a level where I could talk about it. So both of them worked for me, and now I'm medication-free."
He added: "Knowledge is key, and my feelings changed over time. After a while you think, 'It's not going to hurt me'. The only time it's happened since was when I lost my brother.
"I fell into a deep hole and I went back on the medication, but then realised I was grieving. And medication wasn't the answer then. So it's understanding what really is anxiety, what really is panic, what really is depression? All these things are helped if you talk to somebody about it."
His comments echo those of Rio Ferdinand, whose documentary Rio Ferdinand: Being Mum And Dad aired this week and through which Rio was pleading with people who need to express their feelings to do so.
Have you ever suffered from a mental health problem? Did you find that medication worked? Or did you opt for counselling? We'd love to hear from you - either email us or get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.
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