It’s hard to believe that it has been 14 years since Tom Fletcher, Harry Judd, Danny Jones and Dougie Poynter first burst onto the scene as fresh-faced pop band McFly, with the individual band members all going on to achieve longstanding success.
Over the years, Dougie has enjoyed acclaim in the modelling industry, Danny was widely praised as a mentor on The Voice: Kids, and Tom has become a YouTube sensation and bestselling author – a feat that Harry has followed suit in.
Releasing his debut book ‘Get Fit, Get Happy’ earlier this year, the band’s drummer – and Strictly Come Dancing 2011 champ – has received critical acclaim for the book, which examines the impact that fitness and exercise can have on your mental health.
Now Harry has candidly spoken out on his own mental health battle, admitting that he struggled to cope with fame when he and the rest of the McFly boys shot to the top of the charts in the early noughties.
Speaking about when he first started to experience anxiety, Harry shared: “I would say it was around maybe two years into the band – we were busy, and it made things a struggle to get through.
“Thankfully that passed and there have been a few other occasions where it’s been tough, but I feel fortunate that I have managed to come out the other end with a few blips along the way.
“Now I use exercise to help me combat these issues. It helps me to be disciplined, positive and it’s something that I can control.”
The star suffered from panic attacks during the height of his fame and has also battled with OCD in the past – something that he is open about in his book.
Harry explained: “It’s a fitness book with a difference – I start by talking about my struggles with OCD and anxiety and how fitness has helped me to overcome those struggles.
“It’s part personal memoir and part research based. At the end of the book there is an exercise plan for people that may not have the confidence, time, or money to go to the gym.”
Harry decided to write the book when he noticed that the mental health benefits of exercise were being overlooked, adding: “Everyone is always talking about the aesthetic gains and how to get a six pack and I feel that people are not talking enough about the mental health benefits.
“I’m hoping that by sharing my personal story that it can help others feel the amazing benefits of exercise. Don’t get me wrong, looking good from working out is a great motivating tool but for me it’s the by product and feeling great comes first.
“You’re never going to feel worse after a workout – the benefits are clear for all to see and it helps give me clarity and focus. It is proven that exercise improves brain function, reduces stress and release endorphins.”
And the father-of-two also had his say on why he thinks mental health problems are affecting society more than ever before, sharing: “Life is fast paced now – the world moves quicker, people have more high-pressured jobs and stress is often the catalyst to mental health issues.
“The birth of social media and the pressure to look a certain way doesn’t help people – whilst it may be on the rise I think we are more open to talking about our mental health and seeking help so hopefully we will start to see it decrease.”
Get Fit, Get Happy by Harry Judd is out now!