Corrie's Helen Flanagan on her psychotic episode: 'I was seeing things, it was really scary'

Helen Flanagan experienced a terrifying psychotic episode earlier this year following a bad reaction to some prescribed medication for her ADHD. It came, she told OK! in an exclusive chat, after a difficult Christmas Day without her kids - Matilda, eight, Delilah, five, and three-year-old Charlie - who were with their dad, her ex Scott Sinclair.

After returning from a New Year holiday to Bali, the former Coronation Street actress says she "felt terrible" and couldn't stop crying. “My kids weren’t with me on Christmas Day because I like to be really fair with my ex, and I know it sounds so silly because it was only one day, but it hit me really hard,” she tells us.

Helen Flanagan Bali trip
Helen says she really struggled after her New Year's trip to Bali -Credit:Instagram/Helen Flanagan

“The plan was for me to take them to Bali for New Year instead, and although I enjoyed it, I didn’t feel myself, I was struggling. I felt terrible when I got back, I was crying all the time, I felt so low.”

In an attempt to help her manage her day-to-day life, Helen started to medicate her ADHD but had an "awful reaction" to her prescription. The effects of the medicine, on top of trying to deal with long-buried feelings about her traumatic split from her partner of 13 years, Scott Sinclair, was too much for Helen's mental health and she spiralled.

“It was really sad and very scary,” she says, emotionally. “I was seeing things and I felt like I was in danger all the time, I was very scared.” While she wasn't aware of what was happening at the time - help came once her nanny alerted Helen's parents, Julia and Paul, she has since learned that she was suffering a psychotic episode.

Helen Flanagan
Helen hopes that speaking about her mental health journey makes others feel "less alone" -Credit:OK! Magazine / Chelsea White
Helen Flanagan, and children, Matilda, Delilah and Charlie
Helen's children mean the world to her, and she saw them every day while she recovered -Credit:OK! Magazine / Chelsea White

The mental health charity Mind describes psychosis as "when you perceive or interpret reality in a very different way from people around you”, with common symptoms including disorganised thinking, delusions, and speech and hallucinations.

Once her mum and dad were aware of what was happening, Helen was able to seek help. Her children, who Helen puts first in everything she does, went to stay with their Grandma and Grandad for a while - with Helen seeing them every day - so she could work on her recovery.

“My mum’s an amazing Grandma, and my dad’s an amazing Grandad, I was very fortunate and very lucky to have that help,” she says. “It was so hard, but I wanted to do what was best for the kids, and that was the right decision at the time. I saw them every day because it was important for them to see me getting stronger.”