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Mel B’s honest statement reveals how toxic relationships can trigger PTSD

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Susan Devaney
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Mel B has addressed rumours since announcing her plan to enter rehab for treatment. 

Making the decision to seek therapy or treatment of any kind is no easy feat.

Which is why since Mel B announced she plans to enter rehab, she’s keen to clear up any confusion. Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week, the Spice Girl opened up about suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

“I’ve been in therapy since my father got diagnosed with cancer nine years ago,” she told guest host, Lea Michele. “My therapy changed a little bit because I was in a very intense relationship, which you can all read about in my book,” Mel continued, referencing her marriage and divorce from ex Stephen Belafonte.

“I do address a lot of those issues. But you know, no, I’m not an alcoholic. No, I’m not a sex addict,” she continued on the show. “You know, I was with the same person for 10 years and that was quite a turmoil, very intense. That’s all I can say about it. I’d like to say a lot more, but we’re on this show — let’s keep it P.C. But yeah, I address a lot of those issues [in the book] and I did kind of have to ease my pain…I do suffer a lot from PTSD.”

Earlier this week, the singer revealed in a statement that she was finding it hard to “cope”.

“Sometimes it is too hard to cope with all the emotions I feel. But the problem has never been about sex or alcohol - it is underneath all that,” she said.

“No-one knows myself better than I do. But I am dealing with it. I love my three girls more than life itself.”

The presenter also stressed that she was speaking about PTSD because it’s a “huge issue” for lots of people.

“If I can shine a light on the issue of pain, PTSD and the things men and women do to mask it, I will do,” she said.

Mel B isn’t the first celebrity to reveal she suffers from PTSD. Earlier this year, Reese Witherspoon opened up about also suffering from it after being sexually assaulted as a teenager.

“This has been a really hard week for women in Hollywood, for women all over the world, and a lot of situations and a lot of industries are forced to remember and relive a lot of ugly truths,” Witherspoon said at the time, as reported by EW.

“I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I find it really hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate a lot of the feelings that I’ve been having about anxiety, honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier…[I feel] true disgust at the director who assaulted me when I was 16-years-old and anger at the agents and the producers who made me feel that silence was a condition of my employment.”

Witherspoon continued: “And I wish that I could tell you that was an isolated incident in my career, but sadly it wasn’t. I’ve had multiple experiences of harassment and sexual assault and I don’t speak about them very often. 

PTSD, as the NHS explains, is caused by stressful, frightening or distressing events, and symptoms often include sufferers reliving the event though nightmares, flashbacks, or intrusive thoughts or images at unwanted moments.

Further symptoms include problems with sleeping and concentration, and feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt, often severe enough to have an impact on sufferers’ day-to-day life.

It is a recognised mental health condition and can be successfully treated, even when it develops many years after a traumatic event. However, any treatment depends on the severity of symptoms and how soon they occur after the traumatic event – so, if you believe you are suffering from PTSD, it is advisable that you visit your GP as soon as possible, so they can refer you for further assessment.

Images: Getty / Instagram 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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