Playing Andrea Tate on the soap – who was killed off in a mighty blaze recently – the 30-year-old explained that she experienced anxiety acting the role, brought on by long work hours while being separated from daughter Autumn, four.
“Six months after joining the show, my physical and mental health really began to deteriorate because I was so exhausted,” she told The Sun.
“I was commuting between Leeds for filming and London, and there were weeks when I didn’t see Autumn from Sunday to Friday.
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“My immune system was struggling because I was so run down. Then my mental health went. I started to feel lonely, like I was a failure.”
The actress opened about how newly being in the public eye soon affected her mentally.
“Then social media reared its head. I had an invitation to join a Facebook group called Everything Wrong With Anna Nightingale’s Face,” she said.
“I was frustrated because I didn’t feel like I was doing the best job I could or being the best mum I could be. I definitely felt like I was going to burn out.
“And that’s when the panic attacks started.”
Anna described her most intense panic attack in front of 20 cast members in Emmerdale’s iconic Woolpack Pub: “I felt completely overwhelmed.
“I couldn’t breathe, I didn’t know what I was doing and I couldn’t remember any of my lines. It was like a nightmare because it was so public.
“It’s a different thing when you suffer anxiety when you’re with your family, but this was in front of people I worked with and I cared about their opinions. I just couldn’t recall the script.
“Then the panic kicked in and I started sweating. I was shaking, my breathing went and I was crying. But my co-stars, Alex Lincoln and Eden Taylor-Draper, who play Jamie Tate and Belle Dingle, were brilliant.
“They helped me through it step by step. They were incredible. The Emmerdale bosses came to see me too, and they were very supportive, so I will always be grateful for that.
“At the time I really was absolutely mortified, but in hindsight I’m grateful for the experience, because it feels like something I had to go through.”
Anna was five months pregnant when she filmed her last scenes for Emmerdale, which included tense scenes that reportedly culminated in an argument between cast members Matthew Wolfenden and Isabel Hodgins.
The actors shot the episode on location at Tees Barrage water park in Stockton-on-Tees where a high-pressure stunt left Anna feeling the pressure also.
“When you’re filming special episodes people are tired and people are emotional, because they are working so hard,” she said.
“Then they are doing stunts as well. I wasn’t aware of an argument because I wasn’t working with the cast involved, so I can’t comment on the specifics.
“But I know that under those circumstances it wouldn’t take very much for people to get to that place.
“That said, I’ve checked in with people on the show since who say things are good. And Matthew and Izzy are best mates, so I’m sure they will be supporting each other.”
After appearing on Emmerdale for two years, Anna is happy with how she left her experience on the show, saying: “I’m thrilled that I got to leave on such a high.”
OK! has contacted Emmerdale representatives for comment.
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