Andrea McLean has opened up about her battle with postnatal depression, as part of a new campaign with her fellow Loose Women panellists. Together with Nadia Sawalha, Coleen Nolan and June Sarpong, they touched upon the subject as they launched 'Lighten the Load', in association with Samaritans.
Speaking during Monday's edition of the ITV chat show, Andrea, 46, confessed she suffered with her condition in silence before building up the courage to seek help.
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Andrea McLean and her fellow Loose Women hosts have launched a new campaign
The former GMTV host explained: "I had postnatal depression for two years before I finally went to the doctors. It's something I suffered from and hid. Now what's really interesting is we're all really talkative women and I've been working on this show for nine years now and I had it while I was on this show."
Andrea, mum to son Finlay, 14, and nine-year-old daughter Amy, revealed she became good at hiding her true emotions and painting on a mask to record the show.
She continued: "A lot of people obviously see me and I've been in hair and make-up and I'm all professional and I do my job smiling, interacting, being interested and engaged but what I was doing was literally sobbing all the way home."
Andrea says she and husband Nick help each other
It was after her daughter's birth that Andrea began suffering from postnatal depression, and she made the heart-breaking admission that she thought her children would be better off without her.
"I felt that my daughter would be better off without me," Andrea said. "I was so ashamed of how I was feeling and then when I tried to talk about it with various people in my life at the time, [they said] 'what have you got to moan about? Your life is amazing. You're being ungrateful and you're being selfish'. So you learn to go, 'Oh, okay. I won't say anything'."
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Andrea was prescribed anti-depressants after going to the doctors, which she says helped her to 'see colour in her life again'.
Now Andrea credits the support of her husband Nick Feeney with getting her through. She added: "He notices when I'm starting to dip a wee bit in the same way that I notice when he does. He's a big alpha male and he was too embarrassed to admit that he has low times and between us we work through it together."