Victoria Derbyshire reveals private battle with anxiety and depression

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Victoria Derbyshire is urging people to speak up about mental health in the work place (Credit: Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Victoria Derbyshire has confessed she secretly battled depression and anxiety earlier this year, which left her feeling “absolutely knackered.”

The 51-year-old BBC journalist opened up to an audience of over 500 business leaders at The Telegraph’s Women Mean Business Live event in London to reveal she had suffered two bouts of depression - one 10 years ago when she had her own show on BBC Radio 5 live, and the most recent just a few months ago, which was linked to the menopause.

Derbyshire said: "I was getting to a point where I was overwhelmed and waking up at 2am then not sleeping between 2am and 4.30am when I usually get up.

Read more: Victoria Derbyshire confronts Noel Edmonds over 'cancer cure' comments

"I was absolutely knackered and getting slightly anxious. I thought 'I'm not good at my job anymore'.

Victoria Derbyshire fronts her own show on BBC One (Credit: Getty Images)

"I went to the doctors and said I wasn't sleeping, and after I'd given the long list of symptoms I said 'but I don't think I'm depressed'. The doctor said 'I think you are'.

"I cried, because when someone's nice and kind to you, you cry. We walked through things I could do to get me out of this period. I said I would like some antidepressants and she agreed, and she said take two weeks off work."

The broadcaster - who underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy after being diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer before being given the all clear in 2016 - revealed she is no longer taking antidepressants.

Read more: Victoria Derbyshire makes 'C' word slip-up about Jeremy Hunt

But Derbyshire admitted she had been reluctant to ask for time off work as mental health was not discussed in the workplace.

But the mother-of-two revealed her husband Mark Sandell who persuaded her to compromise and take one week off.

Derbyshire said she slept for "hours and hours" during her sick leave and when she phoned her “immediate boss” she was understanding and supportive.

She said: "You've got to tell someone, ask for help, open up. No matter how anxious you are, people are kind - just tell someone and they'll help you."