Great British Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain opens up about her mental health in a new documentary for BBC One.
Since winning the 2015 series of the Bake Off, Nadiya’s rarely been off our screens thanks to her cooking skills.
But despite her incredible success, Nadiya has been living with debilitating anxiety and panic attacks since childhood.
In a new, one-off documentary Nadiya: Anxiety And Me, she shares her journey through her first course of therapy.
For a long time, Nadiya has kept her anxiety a secret. After years of struggling in silence, she is ready to find out where her anxiety comes from and how to treat it. Nadiya hopes her openness will inspire others to seek help and fight the stigma associated with mental health issues.
While Nadiya is sure that she has some sort of anxiety disorder, she has never been fully diagnosed. A GP refers her to a specialist for a course of cognitive behavioural therapy. Her raw and honest therapy sessions help her to reveal the buried memories and key moments from her past that have led to her anxiety.
Nadiya says: “I made this documentary because the biggest problem with having a mental health illness is the lack of talking and communication. If I break my finger, I go to accident and emergency. If I have a cold, I go to the pharmacy. If I’m broken inside, where do I go?
“So, to help myself heal, I felt the best way to do this would be to talk, to share and to better understand what it is that I have. In doing so I was hopeful that I could find a solution, a cure or a way out.
“I had to be honest and speak truthfully and share that I, like anyone else, can suffer. I keep going on about talking and sharing and here I am bare, no frills, sharing, talking.”
As part of the documentary, Nadiya meets others who also have her condition in the hope of understanding her own issues and how anxiety is affecting the nation’s health. Nadiya also learns about the range of treatments available from medication to online support groups.
Young people are particularly vulnerable to experiencing anxiety. Nadiya meets students at Hove Park School in Brighton which takes an unusually open and proactive approach to supporting the mental health of their students. Nadiya emerges hopeful that the next generation will be better equipped to cope with the pressures on their mental health.
Nadiya: Anxiety and Me airs Wednesday, May 15 at 9PM on BBC One. You can watch online and catch up via the BBC iPlayer.
Nadiya: Anxiety and Me is part of BBC’s Mental Health Season. Other documentaries include David Harewood: Psychosis And Me & Alastair Campbell: Depression And Me, both of which will air on BBC Two.