Boy George would ‘freak out’ from ‘really bad panic attacks’

I’m A Celeb: Boy George wears lion mask as he lands in Australia

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Boy George, who was the frontman of pop band Culture Club, suffered from debilitating anxiety back in the 90s. Speaking to the Loose Women panellist, including Coleen Nolan, the musician revealed his ordeal with publicity. “When you’re in the public eye, you’re going along and then suddenly… you realise you’re not so in control of your life as you think you are,” he began.

Boy George said: “I had a period in the 90s when I had these really bad panic attacks.

“I used to go to the Royal Free Hospital and freak out. There was nothing wrong with me. I thought, ‘I’m dying!'”

The Do You Really Want To Hurt Me singer explained: “It wasn’t chest pains… just panic.”

The star, 61, added: “It’s not logical. Sometimes there’s no symptoms, you’re just like, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ You just lose it.”

Not wanting to pin down his anxiety to one thing, Boy George said “it can be food, it can be too much coffee, it can be stress”.

“Eventually somebody just said to me, ‘You need to learn how to breathe, change your diet, maybe try yoga…’ just calming down,” he said in 2018.

What causes panic attacks?

The mental health charity Mind says: “Panic attacks are a type of fear response.

“They’re an exaggeration of your body’s normal response to danger, stress or excitement.”

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Symptoms of a panic attack can include:

  • A pounding or racing heartbeat
  • Feeling faint, dizzy or light-headed
  • Feeling very hot or very cold
  • Sweating, trembling or shaking
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Pain in your chest or abdomen
  • Struggling to breathe or feeling like you’re choking
  • Feeling like your legs are shaky or are turning to jelly
  • Feeling disconnected from your mind, body or surroundings, which are types of dissociation.

During a panic attack you may feel as though you are losing control, or that you are going to faint or have a heart attack; it’s also possible to feel like you’re going to die.

Panic attacks last between five to 20 minutes, and they come on very suddenly.

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A post shared by Boy George (@boygeorgeofficial)

During a panic attack, anybody experiencing one is recommended by Mind to:

  • Focus on your breathing. It can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.
  • Stamp on the spot. Some people find this helps control their breathing.
  • Focus on your senses. For example, taste mint-flavoured sweets or gum, or touch or cuddle something soft.

In addition to stress, other factors that could contribute to panic attacks include feeling lonely and being abused.

“Big changes to your day-to-day life can be a particular trigger for anxiety,” Mind adds.

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A post shared by Boy George (@boygeorgeofficial)

Treatment is available for anxiety, including medication and talking therapies.

“Different things work for different people,” Mind says, adding that there are alternatives to medication and therapy.

Examples include self-care activities, such as journalling and peer support.

Boy George is on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! The ITV reality show is showcasing on Sunday, November 6 at 9pm.

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