Kem Cetinay has opened up on experiencing anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
The Love Island winner revealed that he first started feeling anxious when he was nine-year-old because he overheard a doctor telling his mother that she may not live through the night after a simple operation in hospital.
Explaining the circumstances, Figen said, “I went in for a small operation and, things went wrong, I caught septicaemia and we didn’t know that Kem was behind the door when the doctor told my husband that I might not make it though the night.”
Kem continued, “So they said she had 24 hours to live and I had to say goodbye and I think that was when it started but, I didn’t know it affected me that much.”
The reality star continued to explain that “things started to get the better” of him when he was around 13-year-old, adding that one way his anxiety manifested was that it made it made him “clingy” towards his mum out of “the fear of not knowing if he was going to lose her”.
“It started to take a bit of a toll on my school life,” he explained, “and by the time I got to year 10 I pretty much got taken out of school completely where I wasn’t healthy or safe enough to be in school.”
The former islander then revealed that after he finished school he spent “two years locked in his room” where he would write notes about thinking about suicide.
“It spiralled out of control,” he said, “where the more upset they [Kem’s family] got, the more upset I become and that’s when I think I really hit rock bottom was where I spent about two years locked in a room.
“I never forget my mum found a notebook in my bedroom where I used to write all the things down about how I felt,” he continued, “and she [Kem’s mum] saw all the things I used to write where I used to think about suicide because I felt I had no benefit to my family anymore.
“I think I had no education, I had no friends and I was just becoming a burden around everyone around me, and where can I turn? I didn’t know what to do.”
After his mum took him to see a cognitive behavioural therapist, things turned around for Kem and he began to “develop as a person”.
He revealed that the journey was a “long process” where he “turned corners slowly” and that even now he still battles with anxiety.
“That’s why now, even though I still suffer from it everyday – even my first day on here I was literally, everything was telling to turn around and go the other way.
“But, I thought: ‘I’ve always said no to everything, I’ve been at rock bottom where life wasn’t worth living anymore so I’ve kind of got nothing to lose,’ and that’s what motivates me.”