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Christopher Eccleston reveals mental health breakdown

Christopher Eccleston
Christopher Eccleston Image credit:

Former Doctor Who actor Christopher Eccleston has spoken candidly about his battle with mental health.

Eccleston, 57, revealed he hit rock bottom when he was interviewed by a Big Issue magazine vendor called Clive.

The actor, who is an ambassador for the publication, said "I think the received idea about people who sell The Big Issue is that they’ve never had a ‘successful life’.

"But I discovered that when I had a severe clinical depression and I was hospitalised… I nearly lost everything.

"There was one night I thought I was going to die.

"I was running down Euston Road with a suitcase.

"Now, if anybody has seen me they’d have gone, ‘Oh, there’s Doctor Who’.

"My point is, I don’t think people understand how quickly it can happen.

"Particularly in times of economic recession."

Christopher went on to reveal he “broke down” once in 2016 whilst filming an episode of BBC’s The A Word which had a plot line associated with mental health.

"I was playing a character called Maurice, who was comic and bluff," Eccleston said.

"I was spending 10 hours a day being him, then I would go back to my hotel room and I wouldn’t sleep.

"I found out afterwards that I’d been in fight or flight for a couple of years and could no longer fight or fly, my brain chemistry was telling me I was about to die.

"I wasn’t necessarily going to take my own life.

He continued: "I don’t know whether it would be called psychosis, I was just convinced that I was about to die all night.

"But when 7am came, I would go to work and there would be Maurice’s costume.

"And I swear to you, Clive, I put it on and I was fine."

You can read the full interview in the new issue of The Big Issue.