Frankie Bridge admits coronavirus lockdown is giving her bad anxiety and will test her relationship with husband Wayne
She’s been praised for shining a light on mental health and being open about her own struggles with treatment resistant depression and generalised anxiety disorder, which saw her hospitalised for a month in 2011.
And recently, Frankie Bridge received a shower of support from fans after suffering a panic attack for the first time in five years during a 100-mile trek for Sport Relief.
Opening up to OK! in light of recent events with coronavirus, Frankie – who has teamed up with M&S and the Calm app – admits it’s been hard for her and husband Wayne Bridge to manage their anxious thoughts.
“We’ve both been anxious at different times and calm at different times,” she explains. “It’s that feeling of the unknown that makes me most anxious.”
Frankie, 31, who has been married to former footballer Wayne, 39, since 2014, says she’s stocked up on arts and crafts to keep sons Parker, six, and Carter, four, entertained.
However, she reveals this period of isolation could be tricky for relationships, saying, “It’s a nice excuse to spend some proper family time, but will be the ultimate test for us and all relationships. That or there will be a baby boom!”
Here, the star opens up about managing anxious thoughts during uncertain times, the possibility of a Saturdays reunion and her recent Sport Relief trek…
How are you coping with your anxiety during this difficult time?
At the beginning, I tried to avoid reading about it too much or watching the news. I know with my anxiety that it would stress me out. Now it’s just unavoidable and I know I need to be up-to-date. But I’m just watching Boris Johnson’s conferences now and trying to avoid the rest.
What worries you the most?
It’s the feeling of the unknown that makes me most anxious. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know when life could return to normal.
How’s Wayne handling it?
We’ve both been anxious at different times and calm at different times. I suppose that is good in some ways as it makes us a much better partnership.
How have you explained the situation to your sons Parker and Carter?
With my boys, I’ve just explained that it’s a horrible germ that makes people poorly. I don’t think they need to know the ins and outs at their age. When they ask to go out somewhere, I tell them that we can’t because the bad germ is there. They seem to have accepted it but now they’re out of school it might really dawn on them how different things are.
How do you feel about having them home from school?
It’s going to be interesting as I have to help them with their school work. I don’t feel prepared for it and have no idea what I’m going to do.
How are you and Wayne handling isolation?
We’re at home together a lot anyway because of the nature of our jobs. I’m sure it will be difficult for us, like all couples. It will get on top of us as well as the kids when they start to argue. It will be like the ultimate test for us and all relationships. That or there will be a baby boom!
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Does a situation like this make you concerned for your anxiety and how it could be affected?
Yeah, of course. This situation is hard on everyone’s mental health. But with my anxiety, it’s not warranted so normally I struggle with it for no particular reason. I’ve told myself that if my anxiety does get bad, I have to be easy on myself.
Is it important for you to connect to loved ones?
Yes, because with my anxiety, I’m not good at staying at home all day every day. I’m aware this will be difficult for me. But I’ve just had to find ways to contact my friends. I’ve been FaceTiming them rather than just texting. To actually see someone’s face makes you feel more connected and to see them laugh is really nice.
Do Wayne’s parents still live with you? Are you concerned about them getting ill?
Yes, they are still living with us. We’re concerned about them staying in and looking after themselves. If they do get sick, the benefit is that we can be here to look after them.
Have you been staying in contact with your own family?
I’ve been in contact but I haven’t seen my own family. My sister Tor is pregnant so we’re being very cautious with her. It’s tough but we do have FaceTime so I’m focusing on that for now. My dad’s a black cab driver and I keep nagging him about wearing gloves. But he just won’t listen. Typical Dad!
You were praised by fans during your recent Sport Relief challenge after suffering a panic attack and opening up about your anxiety. How was that experience?
It was a very hard experience and the first day of the trek was probably the hardest day of my life. I was annoyed that I had a panic attack after almost five years of not having one and it was very weird to have that experience filmed. But I hope it did raise awareness towards anxiety and mental health in general.
Liam Gallagher said he wants Oasis to reunite once the coronavirus crisis is behind us. Would you be up for a Saturdays reunion?
[Laughs] That hasn’t even crossed my mind! Wayne would be so happy as he’s a big fan of the group. The girls and I haven’t discussed it so it’s not a plan right now.
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You recently teamed up with M&S and the Calm app. How important is sleep for you?
I have realised over the years how important sleep is and how much it affects me when I’m feeling anxious or my depression has been bad. The first thing my doctor will say to me is that we need to get my sleep under control before we tackle the rest. Sleep is vital, not just for our mental health, but our general wellbeing.
How do you unwind before bedtime?
I like using the Calm app as they have guided meditation and stories that can help relax you. At night when you’re trying to sleep is when your mind races. For me, it’s important to distract myself from anxious thoughts. Especially at a time like this when things are uncertain.
Frankie has teamed up with M&S to launch The Sleep Shop, a dedicated destination for all things sleep. Frankie’s exclusive Sleep Story – The Grand Plan to Rise & Shine – is available to listen to now via the Calm app for a mental health helpline, visit mind.org.uk
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