Monday 25 September 2017

Love Island’s Chris Hughes speaks about anxiety battle

The popular Love Island contestant spoke of his previous mental health issues.

Love Island’s Chris Hughes speaks about anxiety battle (ITV)
Love Island’s Chris Hughes speaks about anxiety battle (ITV)

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

Love Island star Chris Hughes has told of his struggle with anxiety and revealed his last panic attack saw him “break down” in the middle of a cricket field.

Hughes came third in the ITV2 series with girlfriend Olivia Attwood – and has become one of this year’s most popular contestants after winning over viewers with his laid back attitude, good humour and handsome looks.

Prior to appearing on the dating programme, the 24-year-old spent several years suffering from anxiety and panic attacks and, in a post shared on his Instagram page back in October last year, he revealed he had seen a cognitive hypnotherapist to help his symptoms.

Hughes told ITV’s Loose Women about the triggers for his anxiety and how he would avoid leaving work because it served as a “distraction”.

He said: “It actually triggered after a heavy night out one day, and the next day I felt horrific. And my issue was, I was going to work but I was just anxious about being anxious.

“I was getting anxiety from actually worrying about it and it got to like – I was in a nine to five job – and every time it approached 5pm, it would start triggering again and I didn’t want to go home from work. I’d rather have stayed there so it gave me things to think about.”

Hughes said he would feel “awful” when he went home, and that he dealt with his feelings on his own for a long time.

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Chris Hughes (ITV)

“I didn’t really tell anyone. I had a girlfriend at the time who was really supportive with it, but it was… I felt like I was absolutely suffocating,” he added.

Hughes said he would go driving in the evenings “just to keep myself occupied”.

He said it was not until he told his mother about his anxiety that he sought help.

Asked by Loose Women panellist Katie Price if he still suffers from panic attacks, Hughes said: “The last time (it happened), I was on a cricket field and I was stood, and I just completely broke down.

“My breathing went all weird and I just had to get off it.”

Hughes also said he was hopeful that he and Attwood’s relationship will flourish now they are out of the Love Island villa and in the real world, although Price warned him that they may face difficulties as they both work in the media.

He said: “There is already a separation, we do miss each other. We aren’t together like we were (in the villa), so it does feel a little bit weird.

“But work’s work.”

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