Monday 19 February 2018

'There have been dreadful times when I've been suicidal' - Is anxiety behind Will Young's Strictly departure?

Will Young with his dance partner Karen Clifton (BBC/PA)
Will Young with his dance partner Karen Clifton (BBC/PA)
Singer Will Young has insisted he is "absolutely dandy" following his sudden departure from Strictly Come Dancing Newsdesk Newsdesk

Will Young was reportedly battling anxiety ahead of his decision to quit Strictly Come Dancing.

The 37-year-old has insisted he is "absolutely dandy" but did not elaborate on why he had decided to withdraw, just days after viewers saw him clash with head judge Len Goodman.

He's so far refused to elaborate but The Mirror reports that the singer told friends he was battling anxiety.

A source told the newspaper: "Will was suffering from anxiety all of last week and he told his friends he wasn't feeling up to the show, he felt he was under intense scrutiny and wasn't taking it well.

Singer Will Young has insisted he is
Singer Will Young has insisted he is "absolutely dandy" following his sudden departure from Strictly Come Dancing

"Will is a deeply private person and has been out of the spotlight for a long time and he doesn't enjoy being the centre of attention. It all got too much."

In 2012, the former Pop Idol winner spent six months receiving treatment for an array of psychological disorders at a trauma centre in Oxfordshire and said his “brain shut down due to overwhelming levels of anxiety”.

And just a few weeks ago, the singer discussed taking medication and visiting a therapist to combat “extreme hypervigilance of the nervous system” that left him feeling, at his lowest points, suicidal.

Speaking on what he described as “a good day” during the summer, he said his anxiety was “tough” to manage.

“It’s very isolating,” he said. “There’s a part of my brain that is telling me that you’re about to die, you either shut down, freeze or you run. The only thing I can do is go to bed.”

Young said that he spent 18 months as a "walking experiment", testing different medications but he said it can only "take the edge" off his problems.

Will Young and Karen Clifton on the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing
Will Young and Karen Clifton on the latest series of Strictly Come Dancing

"There have been dreadful times when I've been suicidal and on the floor", he said.

The singer claimed he suffered from ‘overwhelming levels of anxiety’ and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after years of hiding his sexuality.

At National Student Pride 2016 earlier this year, he told the crowd: "I was a love addict, I still am an addict, addicted to porn, certainly addicted to alcohol…

"Drugs I didn’t really get into. I toyed around with it, but it didn’t really stick with me so much."

Young's exit came after veteran judge Goodman told Young to ''turn up, keep up, shut up''.

He sparked speculation about the reasons behind his exit when he told fans on Tuesday that he had withdrawn from the competition for "personal reasons".

The singer said he left with "joy in my heart that I have been able to take part in one of the most loved shows on British television".

He sent a text to Radio 2 Chris Evans on Wednsday, which he read out on his breakfast show, saying: "Here's the thing. I'm absolutely dandy, thanks.

"It's all very undramatic really. I've done my statement and others can say what they want to say. I never read what they say anyhow."

His dance partner Karen Clifton said she was "so sad" he had quit the show.

She said on Twitter: "I know it wasn't an easy decision for him. It was great dancing with him, he was such fun to work with and I wish him all the very best for the future."

Model Daisy Lowe tweeted: "@willyoung you are such a talented superstar... @bbcstrictly won't be the same without you- I love you dearly and hope you're alright."

Hollyoaks star Danny Mac said the contestants were "gutted", adding: "We all fully support his decision and will miss him massively. All the best mate x."

Presenter Laura Whitmore tweeted an image with the message: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." The post did not refer to Young directly.

Birds Of A Feather star Lesley Joseph said: "Sad to hear that the lovely Will Young has left #Strictly due to personal reasons!"

Comedian Melvin Odoom tweeted: "So sad to hear this @willyoung Has been a pleasure enjoying the @bbcstrictly experience with you sir...& glad to have made a new friend."

Dancer Natalie Lowe said it was "an absolute dream" working with Young, while fellow professional Janette Manrara ‏said she was "sending all my love & positive energy to an awesome guy".

If any of the above issues affect you, you can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline on 116 123 (Republic of Ireland) or 08457 90 90 90 (from the UK)

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