Victoria Derbyshire reveals private battle with anxiety and depression

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 13: Victoria Derbyshire attends the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on May 13, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Victoria Derbyshire is urging people to speak up about mental health in the work place (Credit: Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Victoria Derbyshire has confessed she secretly battled depression and anxiety earlier this year, which left her feeling “absolutely knackered.”

The 51-year-old BBC journalist opened up to an audience of over 500 business leaders at The Telegraph’s Women Mean Business Live event in London to reveal she had suffered two bouts of depression - one 10 years ago when she had her own show on BBC Radio 5 live, and the most recent just a few months ago, which was linked to the menopause.

Derbyshire said: "I was getting to a point where I was overwhelmed and waking up at 2am then not sleeping between 2am and 4.30am when I usually get up.

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"I was absolutely knackered and getting slightly anxious. I thought 'I'm not good at my job anymore'.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 26:  Presenter Victoria Derbyshire hosts "How Should I Vote? - The EU Debate" at The Briggait on May 26, 2016 in Glasgow. The BBC's first televised EU referendum debate was held in Glasgow in front of an audience of eighteen to twenty nine year olds and a panel of SNP's Alex Salmond and Labour's Alan Johnson backing staying in the EU while UKIP MEP Diane James and Conservative Liam Fox arguing to leave.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Victoria Derbyshire fronts her own show on BBC One (Credit: Getty Images)

"I went to the doctors and said I wasn't sleeping, and after I'd given the long list of symptoms I said 'but I don't think I'm depressed'. The doctor said 'I think you are'.

"I cried, because when someone's nice and kind to you, you cry. We walked through things I could do to get me out of this period. I said I would like some antidepressants and she agreed, and she said take two weeks off work."

The broadcaster - who underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer before being given the all clear in 2016 - revealed she is no longer taking antidepressants.

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But Derbyshire admitted she had been reluctant to ask for time off work as mental health was not discussed in the workplace.

But the mother-of-two revealed her husband Mark Sandell who persuaded her to compromise and take one week off.

Derbyshire said she slept for "hours and hours" during her sick leave and when she phoned her “immediate boss” she was understanding and supportive.

She said: "You've got to tell someone, ask for help, open up. No matter how anxious you are, people are kind - just tell someone and they'll help you."

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