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Viewers thank Bake Off star Nadiya for moving anxiety doc

HONEST: Nadiya Hussain has opened up about her struggles with anxiety

VIEWERS HAVE thanked Great British Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain for opening up about her emotional struggle with anxiety, with many sharing that her honesty has inspired them seek help.

Hussain, who won the televised baking competition in 2015, shared her journey of seeking therapy for the first time in a documentary on BBC last night.

As part of the programme, Hussain let a camera crew capture her seeking a diagnosis for her symptoms and her first course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

She also met with others living with anxiety and explored how the issue is affecting people’s health.

The mother-of-three described her experience of anxiety as “an overwhelming feeling I can’t control” and reflected on how she was subjected to racist bullying at school.

In the first session with her CBT therapist, Hussain recounted how in primary school bullies pulled chunks of her hair out until her scalp bled, shut her hands in doors causing all her fingernails to fall out and flushed her head down the toilet. She also revealed that she kept what was going on from her parents because she didn’t think it would be fair to tell them as they were in and out of hospital with her brother and sister because of their serious illnesses.

After the programme aired, many viewers contacted Hussain on social media to share how the documentary impacted them.

“Loved the doc, I have this issue, never told anyone (even now!) I related to it all and such a relief to hear someone else having my problem. Perhaps I will tell someone!” one wrote.

Another said: “Wow. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I sat in tears throughout your programme it was like you had read my story!! Your honesty, bravery and openness has really helped me to realise that phone call to the GP maybe is my first step to recovery so thank you.”

“I’ve seen so much of myself watching you tonight and I thought good on you girl for facing your demons in public to help others,” another commenter wrote.

Responding to some of the many messages of gratitude and solidarity, Hussain said: “Thank you for all of the support on here tonight. I watched cautiously and felt nervous throughout but I really hope that now we're talking about it, we keep talking! It was difficult to make but worth every tear and sleepless night! We are in it together x”

Speaking before the documentary aired, Hussain said: “I made this documentary because the biggest problem with having a mental health illness is the lack of talking and communication.

"If I break my finger, I go to accident and emergency. If I have a cold, I go to the pharmacy. If I'm broken inside, where do I go? So, to help myself heal, I felt the best way to do this would be to talk, to share and to better understand what it is that I have. In doing so I was hopeful that I could find a solution, a cure or a way out. I had to be honest and speak truthfully and share that I, like anyone else, can suffer. I keep going on about talking and sharing and here I am bare, no frills, sharing, talking.”

Hussain’s programme is the first in BBC’s series on mental health. Tonight at 9pm, David Harewood will explore mental health in David Harewood: Psychosis and Me. The actor has previously spoken out about how he was sectioned in his 20s. The series will culminate on Tuesday with former director of communications for Tony Blair Alistair Campbell’s documentary on depression.

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