Star of beloved sitcom Gavin and Stacey, Sheridan Smith, has opened up about her experience with anti-anxiety medication, saying that at one point she depended on it to such an extent that she suffered a seizure when she suddenly stopped taking it. The actress, who has a new documentary about mental health airing soon, also explained that her decision to go cold turkey came about after a joke was made about her at the BAFTAs in 2016.
"Graham Norton was hosting and made a joke at my expense about me being a drunk," she says during the programme. "I was so humiliated... It's a room full of your peers, 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."
The actress then continued to explain that the awards ceremony was the tipping point that caused her to want to cease taking her medication, which, by that point, she was addicted to. "That night 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'... I went there and just stopped my tablets. Weirdly, a friend of mine had rung me and she came to the hotel."
She added how thankful she is that her friend had called. "It's a miracle she did. 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. I seizured five times and got rushed to A&E and she's the one who got me breathing again."
Sheridan explains that she's passionate about sharing what she's been through with others, and that the death of her father (along with his initial cancer diagnosis) massively impacted on her. Thankfully, she's in a much better place now, having recently become a mother to a beautiful little boy named Billy, with her partner, Jamie Horn.
On the subject of motherhood, she said, "At the start of my pregnancy, I'd just got myself to a good place and I thought, 'Please don't let this be a turning point where things change for me'. That was my biggest worry. Now I've got this little family and I feel a contentment, a [sense of] calm. Maybe I was looking for something in the wrong places and now I feel like I've found it in this little boy when I look in his eyes."
Sheridan Smith: Becoming Mum airs on Tuesday 1 September at 9pm on ITV
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