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Frankie opens up about mental health

frankie bridges
frankie bridges Image credit: bbc.co.uk

Saturday’s member Frankie Bridge has revealed she was admitted to a psychiatric ward after she suffered a nervous breakdown when she was 23.

The singer, now 31, told OK! Magazine: 'It was a relief to be in hospital. I definitely wasn't capable of looking after myself at that point. I had no idea what was going on and I felt completely out of control.'

Frankie spoke openly about her battle with depression in the candid interview which saw her being transferred to London’s Nightingale Hospital in 2011 for a month-long stay.

Despite smiling in front of the camera and live performances she was crying offstage.

Bridge said: 'I was exhausted, constantly crying and I couldn't function any longer.'

Her boyfriend at the time, and now husband, Wayne Bridge, noticed Frankie’s mental health was spiralling out of control when she returned from a video shoot overseas with The Saturdays and called a doctor.

Speaking about finding professional help Frankie told BBC Newsbeat: "It was a sense of relief that I could hand my life over to someone else. I was no longer my own responsibility. It was the hospital's responsibility to keep me alive and make me better."

Her first public appearance after coming out of hospital was for BBC’s Children In Need, for viewers her past struggles was unnoticeable but looking back, watching clips on YouTube, Frankie says she was ‘faking it’.

In her new book, Open: Why Asking For Help Can Save Your Life, Frankie says: 'I just felt I was a prime example of how you can have a really bad time and still live your life and achieve things.'

She goes on to praise Wayne supporting her through the difficult time saying: 'He was my constant, the person who knew me inside out and had seen me at my worst and most vulnerable.'  

Another chapter in the book allows Frankie to trace her mental health back to childhood.

'For as long as I can remember I had suffered from anxiety, nervousness, the big black cloud, stress, low moods, sadness,’ she writes.

'I lived with it in silence and tried to conquer it alone... In my late teens and early 20s I'd had medical help of various kinds (in the six months before I was hospitalised, I'd seen two therapists and tried three different anti-depressants — Prozac, venlafaxine and sertraline — but nothing had worked for long).'

Bridge is now a mum of two young children, Parker and Crater, but admits when she was pregnant it affected her depression.

"It was weird because one of the reasons I wanted to get better was because I wanted to have children and I wanted to be a young mum," she said.

Frankie also suffered with an eating disorder, which was made tougher when she read spiteful comments written online about her physical appearance.

"It fed into every insecurity that I had. My body had been my armour and I no longer had that anymore."

"When I got pregnant I had no control over my body. I had water retention, I had morning sickness and I put on a lot of weight really quickly."

The singer said: 'I decided to write the book now because I feel like although I still suffer with depression and anxiety, I'm definitely out the other side.'

She says her new publication is “not a self-help book. I'm sharing my story to tell people they're not alone."

‘Open: Why Asking For Help Can Save Your Life’ is on sale now.