FOR most celebrities, appearing on Strictly Come Dancing opens up a string of lucrative job offers — but for Daisy Lowe it also led to a secret breakdown.
The model needed two trips to rehab after she became a reclusive wreck due to the stress caused by the death of her grandfather Eddie Davis and a manic work schedule.
Her condition was so bad that her hair fell out, she could not speak and she barely slept for four months.
Daisy, 31, revealed: “I had done Strictly Come Dancing which was the greatest experience in my career.
“I knew what I was doing for six months straight, which, as a self-employed person, was the dream.
“But it’s incredibly high-octane and my favourite person in the world passed away on my very first day as I was being introduced to everyone who was part of the Strictly family.
“I got the call and I had to make my choice. I wanted to quit and come back some day after I’d grieved.
“But my grandmother called me and said, ‘Don’t you dare — go and win this for him.’
“Obviously I didn’t win, but I did have a wonderful time.”
Despite coping with her grief, Daisy and dance being partner Aljaz Skorjanec still managed to last until week eight of the 13-week competition, which was won by BBC sports presenter Ore Oduba.
Daisy added: “Getting kicked out after week eight, when I thought I could go all the way to week 12 or 13, was heartbreaking.
“I felt as though I’d failed my grandfather and his memory.”
After her stint on the show ended in October 2016, Daisy went on the Strictly nationwide tour.
During downtime she wowed fans with an Instagram pic of a steamy trip to a Liverpool hotel sauna with dance pals Karen Clifton, Louise Redknapp and Luba Mushtuk.
I had no idea how much I was struggling, but I was really clutching at straws
And thanks to the hit BBC TV show, the job offers came flooding in.
Desperate to make the most of her time in the limelight, Daisy filled her schedule with as many as eight work gigs a day.
But after using the pay cheques to buy a house and set up her own production company, the reality of Daisy’s new life hit her.
And it was the loss of her beloved grandpa — affectionately known as Fast Eddie — that affected her the most.
She said: “I wanted to pay off my mortgage faster than I originally planned. It was one of those big dreams.
“Also, I was 28 at the time and I thought that I’d be buying a home with someone.
“Maybe in the back of my mind I thought, ‘Wow I’m really doing this on my own’. And I’m doing it on my own because my gramps isn’t here to hold my hand.
“I had no idea how much I was struggling, but I was really clutching at straws.
“I was frightening myself. I was having heart palpitations and I was quite shaky and talking very quickly. I got to Christmas and I just broke.”
Things became so serious that she didn’t leave the house for seven months and was only able to speak a handful of words.
Daisy said: “The strangest thing happened. I think that I was so burned out that I lost the ability to speak.
“All I could really say was, ‘I’m sad’ or ‘I’m scared’ or ‘I feel really anxious’.
“Eventually I was like, ‘God, is this going to last for ever?’
“I’d been to the doctors and I’d been signed off work with clinical depression.
“I had been tried on a few different antidepressants and all of them had very adverse effects.
“I didn’t sleep for four months. The insomnia was so unbearable.
'IT WAS HORRIFIC'
“I was shaking, I lost my appetite and my hair started falling out. It was horrific.”
Daisy’s mum, 50-year-old fashion designer Pearl Lowe, intervened by getting her to see psychotherapist John McKeown, who runs rehabilitation centre Ibiza Calm.
The luxury clinic, which is in a 500-year-old farmhouse on the Spanish island, focuses on individual and group therapy, educational lectures, meditation, yoga and exercise.
At first Daisy was reluctant to open up, even though she was with just a handful of other patients.
Talking on John’s podcast The Wagon, Daisy said: “I think I spent the first few days just looking at my hands, looking at the food I was eating, looking at the floor — a lot of looking down.
“It wasn’t until about week four that someone said, ‘Every time I look at you you’re just like this weak, injured bird. You’re actually a really powerful woman. Sit up’.
“People respond to the energy you’re putting out. So I thought, ‘Sit up, fold your arms, be tough’.
“When I had quiet moments I would go to visit the chickens. I learnt how to pick one up.
“I don’t eat chicken any more. I can’t because they were a really big part of my recovery. You get your hand held through this important recovery process.
"You feel like a family and even though I couldn’t really speak, I felt so much love for everyone in there.
“Yoga was so powerful and exercise got those endorphins going. I was doing kickboxing, and by the time I left I was beating the crap out of my depression. It was so powerful.”
By the time Daisy returned to the UK she felt herself again — but her joy was short-lived.
She said: “I came home and got all excited that I could speak again.
“I was very happy and I did exactly the same thing — worked myself into the ground.
“I think I managed two months before the anxiety was through the roof and I couldn’t cope.
“I signed up to do all of this work and I was like, ‘I can’t cope’.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle with their mental health, be it addiction, burnout, depression
Daisy returned to Ibiza for rehab.
She said: “I think I got more out of my second stint because I wasn’t afraid to be there.
“In the group therapy I really dealt with some old issues, old resentments. Before my burnout I really struggled with anger.
“I still find it hugely uncomfortable but I think that was a big thing for me.
“I realised that I had never really gotten angry and it is a really powerful emotion.
“The whole spectrum of emotions are really important and I think I had suppressed it so much that it had all gone inward.
“I then got very angry, and probably not in a very constructive way, with all the people that I’d been angry with for a very long time and never said anything to.
“That was very important to my full recovery. I had been holding on to that stuff for a very long time and I had to expel it all in an explosion.”
Daisy says she probably “wouldn’t be here” if it were not for her mother’s intervention and her trips to the rehab centre.
She says she is now actively working on keeping well to avoid another relapse.
Daisy revealed: “Every morning I write three things I’m grateful for and three things that are my intentions for the day.
“Even if I’ve woken up a bit groggy, had a bad dream or haven’t slept that well, that at least steers me in a positive direction.
“Through being really unwell I have a really incredible, tight-knit and small support network.
“They are all hilarious and I can be completely real with them.
"I can show up with no make-up on, spot cream and a tracksuit and I won’t be judged at all.
“I make sure that I don’t ever isolate again. That was a big one for me — never allow myself to get to a place where I can even do that.
“I know that without talking about this stuff there will still be a stigma attached to it.
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle with their mental health, be it addiction, burnout, depression.
“Everyone experiences it. Whether they admit it is another thing.”
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