11/06/2019 00:01 BST | Updated 11/06/2019 08:57 BST

Roxanne Pallett Reveals She Was Diagnosed With Complex PTSD After Celebrity Big Brother Stint

Roxanne says this diagnosis has helped her “address the CBB outburst, and past struggles”.

Roxanne Pallett has revealed she has been diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), having sought professional help after her infamous stint in the Celebrity Big Brother house last summer.

In August 2018, Roxanne made headlines when she accused fellow CBB housemate Ryan Thomas of deliberately punching her in the ribs, despite cameras in the house showing this not to be the case.

After choosing to leave the show of her own accord, Roxanne went off-grid for a while, revealing she would be taking time out of the spotlight to seek professional help.

Speaking to Closer magazine, she has now explained: “All I could do was take myself away, figure out why I reacted that way, rebuild myself into a better person and hope that people would one day show me some compassion.”

Roxanne Pallett

During her time out, Roxanne underwent cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing), and has since been diagnosed with PTSD.

Roxanne says this diagnosis has helped her “address the CBB outburst, and past struggles”, which include being trapped in a house fire as a teenager, a past abusive relationship and losing her best friend to suicide, shortly before the death of her grandmother.

“Everyone has struggles,” she told the magazine. “And I’m not using mine to justify my behaviour. But looking back, I should have got help 20 years ago.

“Two weeks before Celebrity Big Brother, I’d been in a car crash and the minute it happened I was on edge and defensive. I was hiding a huge breakdown. My mind had gone to mush, I was getting flashbacks of the house fire and I wasn’t thinking straight.

“I kept changing my mind and being erratic. I was jumping to conclusions that weren’t accurate, yet still I laughed and put on a pretense. These invisible wounds were destroying me.”

Channel 5
Roxanne in the CBB house

She continued: “After shutting myself away, I knew I had to go from hiding to healing. Reading the online comments was the breakthrough moment. I read one that said ‘she needs help’, and that was the defining moment, because it was true.

“My doctor put me on antidepressants for panic disorder and depression and I got in contact with a mental health charity who put me in touch with a therapist in Scotland, who was shocked at the state of me. I told him I’d been feeling like this since I was 16, and asked him to make it go away.

“He said the car crash had triggered PTSD from anxiety from previous traumas in my life and he immediately diagnosed me.”

Roxanne concluded: “Last year doesn’t define my life. It was two weeks out of 36 years, but CBB was the biggest wake-up call of my life –  and the most valuable lesson. It broke me, but then it made me.

“For now, my priorities have changed. Life isn’t about a career or success, it’s about being healthy and happy. I’ve already been working with mental health groups, sharing my story and helping others. I want to use my platform and be an advocate for mental health, and piece myself together. It might take the rest of my life, but that’s OK.”

Shortly before her time in the CBB house, Roxanne filmed an appearance on Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls, but was forced to leave after just a few days, claiming the campfire had triggered traumatic memories of the blaze at her family home when she was a teenager.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@themix.org.uk
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.

Read Roxanne’s full interview in the new issue of Closer magazine, out now.