The Little Mix singer spoke up about how she will “always” live with anxiety.
The first of these took place a few years ago, an “intense and overwhelming” experience that felt as if the singer was having a heart attack. In a new Instagram post, the 25-year-old Little Mix singer has spoken out about just how terrifying her panic attacks have been, and how the impact on her life has been devastating.
“When I first started to feel the effects of anxiety I thought I was losing my mind and it terrified me,” Edwards writes. “I felt so alone and like I was the first person in the world to ever experience it.”
She continues: “I’m not sure what triggered that first one, but it soon spiraled and I found myself in a really dark place, feeling alone and scared. I had people around me but I couldn’t explain to them what was happening to me or why. It affected me so badly that I didn’t even want to leave the house. I would step foot out the door and feel the overwhelming need to go straight back inside. It completely took over my life.”
Today, Edwards says she is panic attack free but that she will live with anxiety forever. In the emotional Instagram post, Edwards urged her followers not to feel alone if they struggle with their mental health.
“The thing that helped me the most was discovering I’m not alone,” she wrote. “I’m not the only person going through this. There are people all over the world feeling exactly the same way I do!”
Edwards seeks therapy and “surrounds herself with loved ones” to combat her anxiety, and she advises others to do the same. “Talking to someone relieves you of SO MUCH STRESS,” she writes. “I worked out coping mechanisms and learned what the triggers are so that I can fight the attacks before they take hold.” She also restricts her social media use, because she realises that this is a trigger that makes her feel “trapped and claustrophobic.”
“I don’t want to hide it anymore,” Edwards writes. “I suffer from anxiety and I want you to all know if you suffer from anxiety you’re not alone.”
Edwards isn’t the only celebrity to speak out about experiencing panic attacks. Fearne Cotton has also revealed that she has experienced panic attacks that felt “terrifying” and “debilitating”, something that arose out of “spinning a lot of plates” and not realising the toll that stress was taking on her life.
Emma Stone has also spoken out about living with anxiety, revealing that she had her first panic attack at the age of seven. “It was really, really terrifying and overwhelming,” Stone has said. “I was over at a friend’s house and all of a sudden I was absolutely convinced the house was on fire and it was going to burn down. I was just sitting in her bedroom and obviously the house wasn’t on fire, but there was nothing in me that didn’t think we weren’t going to die.”
If you, like Stone, Cotton or Edwards, have anxiety disorder and experience panic attacks, know that you are not alone. More than 8.2 million cases of anxiety are diagnosed every year. In the US, the number of people suffering from an anxiety disorder is in the 40 million region.
Anxiety is the most common form of mental illness and it is very treatable. If you suffer from anxiety, experts advise that you visit your GP to explore the treatments available.