Little Mix star Perrie Edwards has opened up about suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.
The 25-year-old, from South Shields, said she "felt like she was having a heart attack" when she first experienced a panic attack as she reached out to her almost nine million followers on Instagram.
The former Mortimer Community College pupil said in a long post on the social media site: "I’d like to open up about something. Venting your feelings is healthy and I want to be honest with you all.
"Over the past few years I have suffered really badly with anxiety and panic attacks. When I first started to feel the effects of anxiety I thought I was losing my mind and it terrified me. I felt so alone and like I was the first person in the world to ever experience it.
"The first panic attack was so intense and overwhelming I felt like I was having a heart attack, I was so scared and confused and had no idea what was happening to me. I’m not sure what triggered that first one but it soon spiralled & I found myself in a really dark place, feeling alone and scared.
She added: "I had people around me but I couldn’t explain to them what was happening to me or why. It affected me so badly that I didn’t even want to leave the house. I would step foot out the door and feel the overwhelming need to go straight back inside. It completely took over my life."
Perrie said she had "felt like a prisoner in her own head" and encouraged others experiencing similar mental health issues to speak up and see help from others.
"I’m happy to say that the physical attacks have stopped but unfortunately the anxiety still lives on. The reality is it probably always will," she said.
"I’ve had a relationship with my mind for 25 years now, so to feel it working against me sometimes makes me feel like a prisoner in my own head.
"It feels like the most unnatural thing in the world but the thing that helped me the most was discovering I’m not alone. I’m not the only person going through this.
"There are people all over the world feeling the exact same way I do! As soon as I realised I wasn’t going insane I felt more eager to beat it. I had therapy and I surround myself with my loved ones.
"Talking to someone relieves you of SO MUCH STRESS. I worked out coping mechanism’s and learned what the triggers are so that I can fight the attacks before they take hold.
"I restricted my time on social media which often made me feel trapped and claustrophobic. I took control of my life and accepted what I couldn’t control.
"I don’t want to hide it anymore. I suffer from anxiety and I want you to all know if you suffer from anxiety you’re not alone ♥️