Nadiya Hussain health: Bake off star discusses disorder ‘I didn’t feel normal’

Nadiya Jamir Hussain, 34, is a British TV chef, author, and television presenter. She became a household name after winning the sixth series of BBC show The Great British Bake Off. Since her win, Nadiya has gone on to host her own cooking shows such as The Chronicles of Nadiya, Nadiya’s British Food Adventure and Nadiya’s Family Favourites. In 2017, Nadiya was named by Debrett’s as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK and was on BBC News’ 100 Women list. Her rise to fame, however, was not always as rosy as it appeared from the outside and she recently revealed that she suffers from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks.

Nadiya opened up to clinical psychologist, Paul Salkovskis during her treatment therapy at the Warneford hospital in Oxford.

Nadia underwent cognitive behaviour therapy and her treatment was filmed for BBC documentary, ‘Nadiya: Anxiety and Me’. Nadiya made the brave decision to reveal her mental disorder to the world in hope of shedding light on what it’s like to live with anxiety and panic attacks.

She revealed her disorder was brought on when she was younger and was bullied in school.

For a long time, Nadiya kept her anxiety a secret but after years of struggling in silence she felt ready to uncover why she felt the way she did and how to overcome it with treatment.

She hopes her openness will inspire others to seek help and fight the stigma associated with mental health issues.

The NHS said: “A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety. Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. However, some people find it hard to control their worries.

Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily life.

Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, including panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder.

Nadiya was never fully diagnosed but was always convinced she had some sort of anxiety disorder.

She was referred by her GP to a specialist for a course of cognitive behavioural therapy and the raw and honest sessions helped her to reveal the buried memories and key moments from her past that have led to her anxiety.

“It reminds me of that moment when I was hiding under the sink and my head was flushed down the toilets.

“I still have the memory of the water going up my nose and knowing that if they don’t pull me up now I am going to drown with my head in this toilet.”

Describing what her mental disorder feels like, Nadiya said: “It’s a feeling that I have had since I can remember.

“Undiagnosed, I always just thought it was my personality until I started having what felt like moments of stress that left me immobile and I couldn’t breathe and I would feel light headed.

“It was debilitating and I didn’t feel normal. It’s so important to recognise mental health issues early and to seek treatment and support which will be beneficial to your overall mental health in the long run.”

You should see your GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or is causing you distress


The most recent Psychiatric Morbidity Survey indicates that there are some six million people in the UK with an anxiety disorder and mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide.

Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorders in Britain, with four to ten per cent of people in England experiencing depression or anxiety in their lifetime.

Nadiya’s advice for anyone battling with the condition is talk to someone.

“I bottled up all my emotions and it has helped to talk about it publicly.”

The NHS added: “You should see your GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or is causing you distress.

“Your GP will ask you about your symptoms and your worries, fears and emotions.”

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