Bake Off’s Kim-Joy bravely discusses her anxiety – ‘I have bad thoughts I can’t shake’

Great British Bake Off star Kim-Joy has taken to Instagram in a moving post to speak out about her experiences of taking antidepressants to help treat her anxiety.

The 2018 finalist, who has become known for her vibrant cakes, iced creatures and quirky designs, posted a photo of her medication – sertraline – to her 338,000 followers.

Alongside the image, the baker wrote a poignant caption where she outlined her experience of living with anxiety.

Despite taking different medication since she was a teenager, it’s only recently that she has been able to talk about it.

“Well this is a bit of a terrifying vulnerable post. But I’ve felt empowered by @lottiegotcake – so here goes…,” she began. “This picture is of the antidepressant I take every day – held in my anxiety ridden bitten fingers.”

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Having worked as a psychological wellbeing practitioner after completing a master’s degree in psychology, Kim-Joy revealed that in the past she would ignore her health, believing that it wasn’t as “bad” as other people’s.

“I had a traumatic and chaotic childhood with close family having very severe mental illness, so I’ve always felt like I need to be the adult and that means I need to appear ‘strong’ so that I’m there for others, even when I feel scared.

“Also I’d compare my own issues to my family, plus others I worked with when I worked as mental health practitioner myself, and decide that my own issues are undeserving of any empathy because they aren’t as ‘bad’ – because I still manage to work and get by. So my own mental health has always been something I put aside and dismiss.”

Speaking about prioritising herself, she wrote: “I’m working on that. And I think a lot of us feel like this. But the thing is, there will always be someone who has it ‘worse’, but that doesn’t make how I or you feel any more manageable.

“All of our mental health is important. And I’m going to keep telling myself that until it sticks in my brain!”

Explaining how treating mental illness with medication is just “like a broken leg or arm,” Kim-Joy explained how taking sertraline has helped reduce her anxiety.

“Sertraline doesn’t help completely but it does take an ‘edge’ off, and without it I have daily thoughts of not wanting to exist and existential dread, deep fixations and anxieties I can’t shake until I’m exhausted, and so many feelings of detachment, plus social anxiety gets a lot worse.

“A mixture of anxiety and depression like so many of us have,” she wrote.

The post comes as part of Dr Alex George’s #PostYourPill campaign to remove the stigma surrounding mental health and medication.

Following the sad death of his brother last year, the former Love Island star revealed that he’d began taking anxiety medication and was determined to get people speaking openly about their experiences taking antidepressants.

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“So many people live with medication stigma every day, a fear that they will be judged as being weak or discriminated against, simply for taking a pill to help with their mental health.

“The other day I did a pole on my stories and 75% of you have faced medication stigma. That is so sad,” he wrote.

Fellow Great British Bake Off contestants were quick to show their support for Kim-Joy, with 2016 winner Candice Brown writing “Proud of you lady” followed by a love heart.

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