Frankie Bridge discusses living with 'severe' depression at height of The Saturdays fame

Sarah Young

Frankie Bridge has revealed she suffered a mental health breakdown during the height of her fame as part of the band The Saturdays.

The 31-year-old former Strictly Come Dancing star opens up about her lifelong battle with anxiety and “severe depressive illness” in her new memoir, Open: Why Asking For Help Can Save Your Life.

In new extracts shared with the Mail Online, Bridge reveals she has suffered from “anxiety, nervousness and the big black cloud” ever since she was a child.

However, in 2011 the singer said she began to feel as though she was “spiralling out of control” despite having a “beautiful life”.

“I had uncontrollable panic attacks and paralysing negative thoughts about anything and everything. I had trouble sleeping, lacked energy and had lost my appetite and my libido,” Bridge writes.

“I couldn’t do anything without help and was unable to function in everyday life. Fundamentally, I couldn’t see the point of living any more.”

During her teenage years and early twenties, the singer said she saw two therapists and was given three different anti-depressants to help control her moods.

But, after hitting “rock bottom” while filming the music video for "My Heart Takes Over" in Iceland, Bridge decided to get help at London’s Nightingale Hospital where she stayed for one month.

In the memoir, Bridge recalls deciding not to tell her family about her stay at the hospital out of “shame” and because she didn’t want them to “blame themselves”.

During her time at the hospital, she was put on new medication and eventually started to speak to other patients who were all suffering from a range of illnesses including bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction and eating disorders.

“There were so many people who had experienced the same feelings as me, if not worse, that I felt understood and not so alone. I no longer had to hide, cover up and lie about how I was,” Bridge writes.

After leaving the hospital, Bridge said she slowly returned to work and was told by her doctor that she suffers from “treatment-resistant depression”, which means any medication she takes becomes less effective over time.

Frankie Bridge was part of the girl band The Saturdays (Getty)

Despite this, the star says she continues to take medication and attend therapy sessions to help “keep her afloat”.

The singer also admits that while she still has her “good and bad days” she no longer experiences the extreme lows she had during the height of her fame.

“It took me reaching what could have been my breaking point to begin to get to grips with my illness,” Bridge writes.

“That has been a hugely empowering journey, and my biggest breakthrough has been realising I will get through it.”

Last year, Bridge opened up about experiencing depression while part of The Saturdays and admitted that she often felt “guilty” about not feeling happy while succeeding in her career.

“I think that’s what made it worse, is I felt so guilty that I still didn’t feel happy in a situation where I knew I should be,“ the singer told Lorraine Kelly.

“And I think that’s what kind of turned the whole thing on its head, because I was like, ‘Something’s not right here. I need to do something about it’.”

If you have been affected by this article, you can contact the following organisations for support: mind.org.uk, beateatingdisorders.org.uk, nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth, mentalhealth.org.uk, samaritans.org.

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