Popstar Frankie Sandford has spoken of her crippling battle against depression - admitting she was hospitalized in a last-ditch effort to beat the illness.
The Saturdays’ singer stopped eating, suffered panic attacks and spent endless hours alone in bed, plagued with “shameful” thoughts.
Discussing the condition, which has plagued her since the age of 15, she said: “I felt that I was worthless, that I was ugly, that I didn’t deserve anything.”
The 23-year-old, dating Sunderland footballer Wayne Bridge, was referred to a psychiatrist by the band’s doctor following a series of panic attacks, before checking into hospital at the end of last year.
She is now on medication to help her control the debilitating condition.
Fronting Mind charity’s It’s Ok campaign, she said: “It all started when I was about 15 or 16.
“I used to stay in bed a lot and had no motivation; I thought I was just being lazy.
“Since childhood I’ve been an over-thinker. I used to make myself sick with worry. I’d always have stomach aches and breathing problems.
“I didn’t do anything about it until it got to the stage when I was just coming home and going straight to bed. I wouldn’t have any dinner, I couldn’t talk to anyone.”
Frankie admits the breaking point came after going into meltdown... over some yogurt.
“Suddenly my illness had control over me,” she told Glamour magazine.
“I got upset because Wayne hadn’t bought the right yogurts; I managed to convince myself he didn’t know me at all.
“It set off this spiral of negative thinking – if I disappeared, it wouldn’t matter to anyone.
“In fact, it would make everybody’s life easier. I felt that I was worthless, that I was ugly, that I didn’t deserve anything.
“I had some counselling which helped for a while but then I stopped going when I felt better.”
In October the former S Club Juniors singer - who joined the band aged just 12 - was admitted into hospital.
Here, she attended both one on one sessions and group therapy.
Speaking about the experience, she said: “There was a part of me thinking I was putting it on, that I wasn’t properly sick, and only sick people should be in hospital.
“I thought that since mine was only a mind thing, I should snap out of it. I got so good at covering it up, I didn’t confide in anyone.
“I thought I was selfish, miserable and ungrateful. I’d been given this amazing life, but I wasn’t happy.
“I did lose myself, but I feel like me again now. But I try not to put pressure on myself – it’s unrealistic, no one is 100% happy all of the time.”
Frankie’s decision to go public with depression comes despite her legal team sending strongly-worded letters at the time warning newspapers against stories about her treatment.
They insisted it was an invasion of her privacy and a breach of the Press Complaints Commission code.