Atomic Kitten's Liz McClarnon and Natasha Hamilton share their emotional experiences of mental health problems
Today, Liz, 31, and Natasha, 30, are discussing their depression, anxiety and postnatal depression (PND) candidly for the first time and interviewing four Now readers about their own experiences.
LIZ: My depression and panic attacks started about a year into Atomic Kitten. I remember I’d get depressed, then anxious, then depressed.
But I didn’t tell anyone – not Natasha or Kerry [Katona] – and struggled alone.
When my mum Janet was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, depression hit me hard.
I felt out of control and finally went for counselling.
NATASHA: I’ve always been prone to depression, even now, but when I had PND after having my son Josh 10 years ago I didn’t talk to Liz or Jenny [Frost] about it either.
I remember telling my mum: ‘I wish I was dead,’ and that was a cry for help.
I got professional help after that.
LIZ: The guilt I still have for not realising what was wrong with you is overwhelming even now. I look back and can see you weren’t well.
NATASHA: It’s not your fault.
I didn’t even know what was wrong with me.
I was surprised how upset I got talking about it again.
When you’re in that dark place, it’s frightening.
But look at you, me and the girls today – here we are, dealing with it.
You still have panic attacks…
I’ve been to hospital so many times with chest pains but I know what’s happening now.
I had one yesterday and told you I wasn’t feeling well so you’d speak up and ask for a coffee break.
You and me are very different but we’ve been through a lot together and we’re closer now than we ever were.
NATASHA: We keep an eye on each other.
I can spot the warning signs now.
If talking about our experiences helps other girls, it’s the best thing we could ever do.
If Now readers are worried about a friend, just ask: ‘How are you feeling?’
Don’t be afraid – and don’t suffer in silence like we did.
You don’t have to be an expert to make a difference to a friend.
Depression isn’t a dirty word.
I can’t stress how great it is to confide in someone.
And talking about it makes your life easier.
After giving birth to son Joshua in 2002, Natasha experienced postnatal depression for nine months before seeking help.
She says: ‘We need to reduce the stigma about mental health problems.’
Having experienced both depression and panic attacks over thepast decade, Liz is determined to help others facing similar issues.
‘It can happen to anyone,’ she says.
Read the full interview with the Atomic Kitten stars in Now magazine dated 4 March 2013 – out now!
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