After being crowned The Great British Bake Off champion in 2015, Nadiya Hussain has used her platform and fame for good – raising awareness of the reality of living with anxiety and panic disorders
Nadiya Hussain has spent the last few years talking openly and honest about her mental health.
The Bake Off champion has frequently opened up about her struggles with anxiety and a panic disorder and the impact it has on her life.
In 2019, the TV chef spoke about the debilitating panic attacks she has suffered since childhood for the BBC One documentary, Nadiya: Anxiety and Me.
Following the start coronavirus pandemic last year, the cooking sensation found herself struggling with her mental health as the entire country lived life in lockdown.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Nadiya, 36, admitted that she suffered “days where I don’t even want to get dressed”.
BBC/Wall to Wall Media Ltd/Cliff Evans)
“There’s loads of people who feel the same way whether they have mental health issues or not,” she added during her chat on the airwaves.
The star also confessed to worrying about her levels of productivity during periods of isolation.
“I’m so used to constantly doing things, I’m scared I’m not productive enough or doing enough,” she admitted.
“If I brush my teeth and put a fresh set of clothes on, that’s okay – that can be a goal I’ve met.”
The award-winning author is happily married to husband Abdal Hussain, with whom she sharessons, Musa and Dawud, and daughter, Maryam with.
Speaking on the radio last year, the TV chef paid tribute to her supportive family.
“They will know when I’m having a bit of a bad day and they’ll deliberately shove the cat in my face or bring the budgie over,” she explained on the BBC show.
Prior to becoming a household name thanks to The Great British Bake Off, Nadiya admits on her website she found herself “lost in the madness that is life”.
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“Packed and ready to film my first episode it became a day of many firsts for me. First time in a taxi alone, first time on a train alone, first time on the underground alone, first time without my husband to help, first time without my kids,” she recalled on her site.
“My anxiety mounted, I perspired through the missed trains, the sweaty pits and the quiet tears.”
In her one-off documentary, Nadiya attempts to find the cause of her anxiety, exploring the most effective, available treatments, whilst having therapy herself, in the hope of managing her anxiety.
She speaks bravely and honestly about what it’s like to live with anxiety and panic attacks; undergoing a course of cognitive behaviour therapy throughout the programme.
Mental health support
Helplines and support groups
The following are helplines and support networks for people to talk to, mostly listed on the NHS Choices website
- Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com.
- PANDAS (0808 1961 776) runs a free helpline and offers a support service for people who may be suffering with perinatal mental illness, including prenatal (antenatal) and postnatal depression plus support for their family or network.
- Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
- PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is an organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
- Mind (0300 123 3393) is a charity providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
- Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
- Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.
Amparo provides emotional and practical support for anyone who has been affected by a suicide. This includes dealing with police and coroners; helping with media enquiries; preparing for and attending an inquest and helping to access other, appropriate, local support services. Call 0330 088 9255 or visit www.amparo.org.uk for more details.
- Hub of Hope is the UK’s most comprehensive national mental health support database. Download the free app, visit hubofhope.co.uk or text HOPE to 85258 to find relevant services near you.
- Young Persons Advisory Service – Providing mental health and emotional wellbeing services for Liverpool’s children, young people and families. tel: 0151 707 1025 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Paul’s Place – providing free counselling and group sessions to anyone living in Merseyside who has lost a family member or friend to suicide. Tel: 0151 226 0696 or email: email@example.com
The Martin Gallier Project – offering face to face support for individuals considering suicide and their families. Opening hours 9.30-16.30, 7 days a week. Tel: 0151 644 0294 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite having achieved “more than [she] ever imagined”, the popular star admits she may never completely banish her panic, but continues to “fight it every day”.
“That feeling of worry is always there. I might appear happy and relaxed but its not how I feel, She explained on the moving documentary.
“A panic attack makes me feel like I’m going to die – imagine your whole life thinking you are going to die every single day.”
*If you’re struggling with anxiety, Mind’s helplines provide information and support by phone and email.