Linda Robson has boldly spoken up about her mental health struggles and alcohol addiction, disclosing that she was once on suicide watch.
The 65-year-old Loose Women actress has shared an excerpt from her new memoir, Truth Be Told, in which she discusses her struggles with OCD and sleeplessness, as well as her family’s growing worry for her.
Linda shared that her mental health issues started in 2008, after her son Louis was stabbed and died at the scene.
The mother-of-three’s problems worsened until she ‘heading for a full collapse’, booked into rehab, and was placed on suicide watch.
Linda put up drinking for a Loose Women feature and was told she ‘looked amazing’, but she was ‘coming apart inside’.
The Birds of a Feather actress ‘went back to drinking’ and suffered with ‘deep despair’, and the alcohol harmed her relationships with her husband and children, making her’snappy and irritable’.
Linda explains in her biography that she used to eat oranges to mask the odour of alcohol on her breath and carried a toothbrush with her wherever she went, but she now realises how difficult it was to conceal.
‘It was always going to reach a crisis point,’ she says, in an extract obtained by MailOnline.
Meanwhile, her OCD was ‘totally out of control,’ and she had to keep her phone fully charged for fear that her children would be unable to reach her.
Linda reveals: Nadia Sawalha took the lead in expressing her need for help, concerned that it could be dementia. The I’m A Celebrity star went to rehab for six weeks, but after leaving, she would ‘down whatever I could get my hands on’ and returned to work at Loose Women while keeping her’self-destruct mode’ a secret.
At one point, her family urged their local shopkeeper to stop serving her booze because ‘they were at the end of their tethers’, but Linda would ‘ask strangers’ to purchase her vodka.
Her’most heart-breaking event’ of the era occurred when her eldest daughter Lauren barred her from caring for her granddaughters following an incident in which Linda left the two young kids alone in a car while she raced into a shop.
‘By the Christmas of 2018, the situation was intolerable. The police had been called to the house on quite a few occasions,’ Linda writes in the extract.
She continues: ‘I was spending whole days crying and I looked absolutely terrible, really skinny like a skeleton.
‘When I look back at the pictures from that time, I’m horrified. It was as if I was at death’s door, with hollowed-out cheeks and lines etched across my face.’
Linda goes on to reveal her family had discussions ‘about getting me sectioned under the Mental Health Act’ because they were ‘so frightened’.
She eventually went to treatment voluntarily, ‘not knowing’ if she would ever come home and ‘hating’ herself.
‘That’s when I started to think I’d be better off dead,’ she reveals.
‘At least without me around they’d be able to get on with their lives and wouldn’t have to worry about who was going to be looking after me.
‘I told the Nightingale staff that I wanted to kill myself. I was immediately put on a suicide watch with someone sitting outside my bedroom door the whole time.
‘I thought about how I could do it and considered saving my diazepam up and taking them all in one go. I imagined getting a knife and slashing my wrists. I had started self-harming.’
Linda explains how she felt ‘trapped’ and wanted ‘nothing more than to die’ after hitting ‘rock bottom’.
She went on to say her co-stars and family, including Birds Of A Feather’s Pauline Quirke and Loose Women’s Janet Street-Porter were regularly checking in on her, and she finally went home in March 2019, when she felt stronger.
‘I’m absolutely fine to be around alcohol. I’m never tempted,’ Linda adds, speaking of her journey, with her OCD being ‘much better’ and having been off medication since 2020.
Linda’s memoir comes months after she disclosed she had ended her 33-year marriage to Mark Dunford.
After opening up about her sex life and relationships, the TV actress stated that she ‘feels fine’ and has since returned to the ITV panel.Loose Women airs weekdays from 12.30pm on ITV1.
The NHS recommends Drinkline, the national alcohol helpline. If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s drinking, there is a free helpline you can call in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
Or you can use Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a free self-help group with a 12-step programme.
If you’re a young person, or concerned about a young person, you can also contact PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide UK. Their HOPELINK digital support platform is open 24/7, or you can call 0800 068 4141, text 07860039967 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org between the hours of 9am and midnight.