Fearne Cotton has opened up about bouncing back for a period of depression when she hit her 30s.
Writing the The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self, Fearne said she suddenly became disenchanted with the TV industry and stopped believing in the 'grandeur' of it all, after a very 'intense' and 'unhealthy' relationship with the press in her 20s. This lead her to fall into depression for several years.
'I had to sort of start from scratch again,' she explained. 'I didn’t believe in the myths of what the job or the industry meant... I didn’t believe in having this insane fear-based respect for everybody in it.
'I just dropped all of that, and wanted to start again. And that was terrifying, but it’s been essential in me ending up where I am now, doing a job I care deeply about.'
Admitting that – after suffering from imposter syndrome for most of her 20s and early 30s – she only finally felt like she had the right to 'occupy this space confidently,' after the launch of her mental health podcast Happy Place two years ago.
This week I have been feeling agitated. There are some issues I feel I have little control over, like how so many are mentally suffering and losing their jobs, confidence and connection to others due to this pandemic. 🤯 Yet there are some issues, that are disturbing my sleep, that I feel I could impact in my own small way. I am constantly bamboozled when it comes to certain areas of the Instagram world. Although I love that it can be connective, dynamic, educational, lead to great awareness and change, it also frustrates me as a mother to two girls, my daughter and step daughter that there is so much emphasis on surface stuff. Some of the most influential people on here purely showcase picture perfect selfies, designer clothes and a certain life style. First up, if that’s what floats their boat fine, this is not an attack from me but where I feel I can help out is to start a conversation about how that information is processed by our human brain. Unfortunately these sorts of images lead to most of us believing, even if on a subterranean level, that if we have the poutiest lips, the most perfect hair, the peachiest arse, then we will reach some sort of mental utopia. These photos offer an empty promise. They’re a contrived snapshot in time with no depth. Pretty? Sure! But helpful to us individually? I doubt it. Why do we value the surface so much more than the story? Follow people that make you happy. I can give you some suggestions of people I believe should have the biggest followings on here... @samantharenke @henryfraser0 @anniejprice @howtoglitteraturd to name just a few. People who champion courage and joy and welcome conversation. As I’ve said this is not an attack on anyone merely a chance to look at what makes us feel good and what we are happy for the next generation to be influenced by. Another option is to put your phone down and get in nature. I feel so happy when I’m outside, much better than I would spending an hour scrolling through photos of smooth foreheads, shiny bums and contoured cheeks. I’m not saying I use insta perfectly but let’s continue this conversation and work out how we can put more emphasis on the story behind the photo.
A post shared by Fearne (@fearnecotton) on Sep 30, 2020 at 2:49am PDT
'Women’s hormones change dramatically around about 35,' she told the publication. 'There’s a huge sudden descent which can result in depression or anxiety. And for me specifically, there were lots of things in my late 20s, early 30s that I felt really not OK about.'
Happy Place – which aims to destigmatise mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and imposter syndrome, by discussing them openly – has helped the 39 year-old to be her most authentic self.
'Now I don’t care, people can say what they want,' Fearne explained. ;I’ve been to hell and back, so now it’s about being me and if people don’t like that, it’s really none of my business.'
Admitting that, during her time as a TV presenter in her 20s, she had an anxiety that she 'didn't belong,' she's since realised that a lot of people feel like the same way, but don't talk about it, and instead 'go along, silently worrying we don’t fit in, and not saying it out loud'.
She added: 'There’s a real liberation in just saying it and having this person who you assume is incredibly confident saying they feel the same. You realise we’re all in the same boat. It’s really lovely knowing that.'
You can read Fearne's full letter to her younger self on The Big Issue website.
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