Christopher Eccleston was ‘convinced he was about to die’ amid mental health struggles

‘My brain chemistry was telling me I was about to die,’ recalled the actor

Annabel Nugent
Monday 04 October 2021 08:02
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<p>Actor Christopher Eccleston has repeatedly spoken out against social inequality in acting</p>

Actor Christopher Eccleston has repeatedly spoken out against social inequality in acting

Christopher Eccleston has opened up about his mental health struggles, revealing that he was once convinced he was “going to die”.

The Doctor Who star recalled his experience during a candid interview with The Big Issue vendor Clive, who is based in Devon.

Eccleston said that he had “nearly lost everything” after he was admitted to hospital with severe clinical depression in 2016.

The 57-year-old said: “I think the received idea about people who sell The Big Issue is that they’ve never had a ‘successful life’...

“But I discovered that when I had severe clinical depression and I was hospitalised, I nearly lost everything. There was one night I thought I was going to die.”

Eccleston added: “I was running down Euston Road with a suitcase. Now, if anybody had seen me, they’d have gone, ‘Oh, there’s Doctor Who.’

“My point is, I don’t think people understand how quickly it can happen. Particularly in times of recession,” he said.

The actor went on to explain how he first suffered a mental health episode in 2016 during filming for the BBC drama The A Word, in which Eccleston starred as Maurice.

Christopher Eccleston photographed in 2019

“I found out afterwards that I’d been in fight or flight for a couple of years and could no longer fight or fly – my brain chemistry was telling me I was about to die,” said Eccleston.

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The 28 Days Later star continued: “I wasn’t necessarily going to take my own life. I don’t know whether it would be called psychosis, I was just convinced that I was about to die all night.”

Eccleston has previously spoken candidly about his depression and anorexia.

The actor, who took on the role of the Doctor in 2005, wrote about his mental health struggles in his 2019 autobiography, I Love The Bones Of You.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

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