Gail Porter: ‘I thought I would never leave psychiatric hospital’
TV presenter Gail Porter, who was sectioned in April after feeling severely depressed and suicidal, has opened up about her experiences in a psychiatric unit…
In a searingly honest interview with The Mail On Sunday, Gail Porter, 40, has lifted the lid on her time in the Royal Free Hospital’s psychiatric wing, the Grove Clinic, where she was placed under a 28-day section order following a breakdown. Speaking of her ordeal, the troubled TV presenter revealed that after seven nights of not sleeping, drinking heavily and cutting off all her phones, she went for a walk on Hampstead Heath and texted boyfriend Jonny Davies saying: “I can’t carry on, I feel suicidal” on April 22nd.
Gail, who has struggled with anorexia, post-natal depression, bipolar disorder, hair loss condition alopecia and depression following her divorce from ex-husband Dan Hipgrave in 2004, likened her stay to the film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and said her time in the hospital did little to help her.
She said: “The worst part about being sectioned was the lack of structure. There was no treatment programme – we were just locked in the unit and basically forgotten about.
“When you are suffering from depression as badly as I was, you genuinely believe you will never come out of a place like that.
“It felt as if I was in the film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. I had been forced into this place with some very, very ill people and we were left to our own devices and to fend for ourselves.”
Gail, who has eight-year-old daughter Honey with her ex-husband, also revealed that she only “saw three doctors for ten minutes each” during her three-week stay in the clinic. The lack of treatment “meant meant patients just focused on their problems instead of getting better. 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.’”
The star was eventually discharged on May 17th, three weeks after her sectioning, and returned home to continue treatment as a day patient at her local mental health centre. At the end of July, Gail decided to head to Thailand for a two-week rehabilitation programme at the Chiang Mai clinic and now says that she feels better than at any point in the past two years.
“The treatment was focused on talking through our problems and looking towards the future. There was exercise every day and a programme of activities,’ Gail explained. “But it seems ridiculous that I had to go to Thailand to get better treatment than I received in a hospital ten minutes from my house.”
Read the full interview with Gail here.
Image: Suzan/EMPICS Entertainment