‘It was like a nightmare’ Emmerdale star Anna Nightingale suffered panic attacks on set

Emmerdale: Meena appears to attack Andrea Tate

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Anna Nightingale, who had played Andrea Tate on the soap since 2019, became overwhelmed working 60-hours per week as it subsequently kept her away from seeing her daughter, Autumn, whom she shares with fiancé Darren Dixon.  In her latest interview with The Sun, Anna admits that she was overworking herself baby travelling between Leeds and London to film her scenes for the show while only getting to see her family no more than twice a week. 

I didn’t know what I was doing and I couldn’t remember any of my lines

Anna Nightingale

While she firmly believed that she would be able to cope with her hectic filming schedule, after six months into production, the soon-to-be mother of two noticed her mental health deteriorating as she began to experience panic attacks on set because she was “completely overwhelmed”.

Anna recalled one particular moment where she was filming a scene inside Woolpack Pub 20 people and abruptly forgot her lines, which she described as one of her worst attacks at the time. 

“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,” she shared.

“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.”

To make matters worse, Anna was already pregnant with her second child during this time, meaning that any stress she was putting onto herself was going to affect the baby too. 

While she was determined to deliver a stellar performance, Anna knew that she wouldn’t be able to continue working this way for much longer. 

Her mental health had reached an all-time low, and now that she was pregnant, her overall health became her main priority. 

“Those were some of the toughest times. I was working so hard – like everyone does on Emmerdale – and my immune system was struggling because I was so run down,” she said.

“I definitely felt like I was going to burn out. And that’s when the panic attacks started.”

At the same time, however, Anna found herself being targeted by trolls on social media, who would create groups mocking the actress’ appearance, making it all the more challenging not to suffer from yet another panic attack. 

“Then my mental health went. I started to feel lonely, like I was a failure. Then social media reared its head. I had an invitation to join a Facebook group called Everything Wrong With Anna Nightingale’s Face.”

Fortunately, Anna was surrounded by cast and crew members who provided her with help whenever things were getting too much for her. 

While her final weeks of filming were far from enjoyable, she felt also felt supported by the show’s bosses, saying she was “grateful” for their understanding while Anna felt like the world was crashing down on her. 

Still, the ordeal left her feeling “absolutely mortified”.

Elsewhere, the London native expressed that she has always had a strong work ethic thanks to her mother, whom she deems as her role model.

She hopes that attributing her hard-working spirit to setting an example for her daughter will inspire the youngster to know that all is possible through dedication. 

And while working on Emmerdale wasn’t the easiest thing for Anna, she acknowledges that the experience has given her the confidence to take on a new chapter in her life — one which she hopes will explore a different career path outside of just acting. 

She told the publication that she’s very passionate about “writing.”

Anna recently completed filming her upcoming comedy flick, Limbo. 

The motion picture will star Philip Labey, though an official release date has yet to be announced.

Express.co.uk has contacted ITV for comment.

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