Billie Piper

Billie Piper recalls how her attitude to therapy changed in her early 30s

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I Hate Suzie star Billie Piper just opened up about how she first “rejected” therapy as a teenager, and explained why this attitude changed in her early 30s. 

Many of us know just how beneficial undergoing therapy can be, and the pandemic has only made people more aware of the need to take steps to protect their mental health. According to the Centre for Mental Health, as many as 10 million people in England alone could soon need mental health support as a direct consequence of Covid-19. 

It’s important to see your GP or access NHS mental health services, as well as accessing free online mental health resources. And if you do then decide to start a form of therapy, the first hurdles are finding the right therapist and being prepared for that first session.

Yes, it can be quite scary and intimidating. But like Debbie Harry said about her own therapy journey in a recent Homo Sapiens podcast interview: “I just think it’s worth the fight. But it is a fight.”  

There is something particularly reassuring about these words and any other experiences shared by those who have been through or are currently going through therapy. That’s why it is so interesting to hear Billie Piper recalling her changing attitudes to therapy.

Speaking on the Changes With Annie Macmanus podcast, Piper reflected on how she “rejected” therapy when she first started it at 16 years old because of her eating disorder. 

“I just rejected it,” she tells Macmanus. “I thought it was ridiculous and I hated it. I did one session and then scoffed at it and then continued battling with eating disorders the next 15 years.”

The I Hate Suzie star explains how this attitude changed as she grew up: “Then in my early 30s, which as I said before, felt like a very important time in my life, I became quite physically ill and lots of things were happening in my life that I could not take stock of it.

“I couldn’t not look back and think, ‘OK, this is sort of unhelpful patterns of behaviour, or this is something that keeps coming up, or why do I feel so strung out or anxious all the time, like so adrenalised all the time? What is it? And then I started getting twice a week therapy and doing big workshops and doing outpatient stuff with the eating disorder.” 

Piper continues: “So I did a load of it [and] now I’m sort of in the once a week world. I would say largely, as an experience, it’s really, really benefited my life and some of it’s really hard and some of that I wish I’d never really got into. 

“There’s still a sort of stigma around being that ‘therapy person’, like the person who goes, ‘You should get therapy’ or, ‘Hey, why don’t you try therapy or even talking openly about it?’ I still feel that there’s […] certainly a stoicism that runs through the core of our family and there’s not a lot of space for that in theory.”

You can listen to the full interview on the Changes With Annie Macmanus podcast. 

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health, you can find support and resources on mental health charity Mind’s website or see the NHS’s list of mental health helplines here

For information and help on eating disorders, visit eating disorder charity Beat website.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…