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Gail Porter: 'I was drugged up to my eyeballs in psychiatric hospital'

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Gail Porter at the press launch of Elias Superwipes at Tibits, London

© WENN

Gail Porter has spoken about her experience of being detained under the Mental Health Act earlier this year.

The presenter revealed that after seven nights of not sleeping, drinking excessively and cutting off all her phones, she went for a walk on Hampstead Heath, hid under trees and texted her boyfriend Jonny Davies saying: "I can't carry on, I feel suicidal."

She was later found by worried police in a pub and taken to the Royal Free Hospital in North London for assessment. She was placed under a 28-day section order, forcing her to stay at the hospital's psychiatric wing, the Grove Clinic.

"When you are suffering from depression as badly as I was, you genuinely believe you will never come out of a place like that," she told The Mail On Sunday. "It seemed to me that the nurses didn't really know what to do with us so it was easier to give us lots of drugs so we were calm and quiet.

"My ex-husband came to visit me and said recently, 'You got madder every day you were in there. You were dosed up to your eyes with nothing to do'. Two patients believed they were Jesus and on another occasion a male patient burst into the common room naked because he said he was better.

"I was desperate to get out but because I had been sectioned it was illegal for me to leave the hospital. I honestly believed I would never leave."

On May 17, three weeks into her sectioning, Porter was allowed to go home and continue her treatment as a day patient at her local mental health centre. At the end of July, she decided to fly to Thailand for a two-week rehabilitation programme at the Chiang Mai clinic.

"On the surface I was telling everyone I was fine but underneath I felt as if I was struggling to keep my head above water," she added. "There was little work and no job offers. The only work I had was as a panellist on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff, but that was only once every two months and not enough to cover my outgoings."

> Gail Porter beginning to lose hair again?

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