RuPaul's Drag Race UK: Sheridan Smith says she’s ‘dead’ to Alan
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The actress has been nominated for numerous awards across her career, but it was at the BAFTAs, when she was nominated for her performance in The C Word, where the star that she “went off the deep end”. Looking back on the night, Sheridan said that she was left “humiliated” by jokes about her “being a drunk”, but in actuality it was that same night where her health took a shocking and worrying turn.
Not realising that her actions were dangerous, Sheridan stopped taking her anxiety medication in a move that she herself has described as “the final straw”.
The actress addressed the incident in a recent documentary called Sheridan Smith: Becoming Mum, which tells of her journey to motherhood, while navigating her mental health struggles.
Within the documentary she said: “Graham Norton was hosting and made a joke, basically at my expense, about me being a drunk.
“I was so humiliated, you know, it’s a room full of your peers. And people you want to work with, or have worked with.
“That night, for me, was like the final straw before my brain totally went off the deep end.
“What people didn’t realise is that I’d become addicted to anti-anxiety tablets.
“I took myself off to a hotel on my own. In my crazy mind, I thought, ‘I’ll do it [stop taking the tablets] myself’.”
However, what happened next nearly cost Sheridan her life. In a short amount of time she had seizures five times.
“It’s like someone was looking out for me because what I didn’t realise is that if you stop these tablets abruptly, you seizure,” she added.
By some sort of “miracle” Sheridan’s friend happened to come into the hotel room to find her unconscious, and quickly called an ambulance which whisked the star off to A&E.
“She’s the one who got me breathing again,” Sheridan added, commending her friend who had found her after the multiple seizures.
Anti-anxiety medication can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, including extreme worry and panic attacks, explains The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
The most common medication is benzodiazepines, which is said to reduce the symptoms of anxiety over an “extended period of time”.
The Mayo Clinic says that common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety.
However, individuals experience anxiety and other mental health disorders differently, symptoms can greatly differ.
The CAMH continues to say that when used “appropriately,” benzodiazepines are safe and effective drugs, but admits that they have “potential” to be addictive.
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For those with anxiety however, the muscle relaxation that benzodiazepines cause is unable to be achieved without taking them.
Saying this, there are possible non-drug related treatments that have found to be effective for people with anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Various kinds of exercise such as walking, running, yoga and tai chi can help to reduce the amount of stress in your life.
For Sheridan however, the possibility that her past mental health issues will “rear [their] ugly head again” is always a worry.
Something she spoke about in her documentary was the miracle of giving birth to her son Billy, who she said had given her a “second chance at life”.
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