Siobhan Donaghy has discussed her battle with crippling anxiety and panic attacks admitting she thinks the trauma has ‘taken years off’ her life expectancy.
The singer, 38, found fame with the Sugababes in the Nineties but would suffer such intense stage fright that she would be physically sick at the thought of performing.
After leaving the group in 2001 she went on to welcome two children – son Ford, five, and daughter Vivienne, two – and has credited motherhood with helping her ease her anxiety at performing.
Speaking on the Spinning Plates podcast, she revealed that having her second child completely changed her outlook and for the first time she was ‘surprised’ to actually find herself looking forward to performing again.
The Sugababes have since reformed with the original line-up and Siobhan will join Keisha Buchanan and Mutya Buena on tour this year.
Candid: Siobhan Donaghy has discussed her battle with crippling anxiety and panic attacks admitting she thinks the trauma has ‘taken years off’ her life expectancy
Siobhan revealed: ‘I used to get terrible stage fright, and I just thought I’d feel like that. But I don’t feel like that since becoming a mum.
‘I just think none of it matters that much any more. I just think my kids matter more and that’s like the really important thing that I need to get right.
‘If I hit a bum note, or maybe fall over on stage, doesn’t really matter.
‘I actually feel like I don’t have the head space to take it as seriously as I did before. It has to be more lighthearted or my brain might explode. Oh thank god, it’s so nice.
‘I am in my own world up there. For me it’s like a night out – I’m going to sing, I’m going to dance and then I’m just going to go home.’
She went on to note: ‘It’s nice to prove to myself that I still have it in me. It’s so ridiculous to me that I just don’t get nervous – it’s lovely.
‘It’s literally like black and white – me then to me now. I just never want to feel like that ever again.
‘That level of stage fright that I used to experience, I genuinely believe took years off my life. I feel like the cortisol that would course through my body.
‘From the moment I found out that I would be doing the show, and that can be months in advance, I would stress about it for the entire time. I would make be sick.
‘Looking back I was actually was having full-blown panic attacks sometimes – maybe for every show – and just still went out.
‘I now realise it wasn’t normal stage fright. It’s the heart palpitations, it’s your breathing. I don’t know how I didn’t pass out.’
Performing: The singer, 38, found fame with the Sugababes in the Nineties but would suffer such intense stage fright that she would be physically sick at the thought of performing (pictured in August)
Siobhan left the band suddenly in 2001 after branding bandmate Kesha a ‘bully’ and later revealed she had been diagnosed with clinical depression.
With things more settled now, Siobhan also credited the ‘more relaxed the dynamic is between the three of us’, with helping her stage fright.
She explained: ‘Back then I was nervous, Keisha was nervous, and Mutya was nervous. When you’re teenagers you don’t recognise this in each other – that when you’re nervous you kind of go into yourself and it can look like you’re moody.
‘Whereas now we’re very good at communicating with each other. We give each other eye contact on stage. If anyone’s having a little bit of a moment, or you need to sing their part, we can quickly do that for each other.
‘So having that support network on stage now is amazing.
‘Keish is a real leader in that. I always feel like she has our back on stage. Vocally and sonically we defer to her to make sure that’s right. It’s just another weight off my shoulders – I love it.’
She went on to reveal that while she no longer has stage fright she still has struggles with her mental health.
Siobhan explained: ‘I now realise in hindsight – because I am someone who probably has generalised anxiety anyway – looking back I was actually having full-blown panic attacks sometimes.
‘Weirdly enough, I started having panic attacks after I had my daughter when I was breastfeeding. I could be sat there having a lovely day and the chest pains that I would experience were really full on.’
Mum: After leaving the group in 2001 she went on to welcome two children – son Ford, five, and daughter Vivienne, two – and has credited motherhood with helping her ease her anxiety (pictured with newborn Ford)
She was so concerned that she went to A&E convinced she was having a heart attack and even after doctors assured her that it was a panic attack she feared she’s been ‘misdiagnosed.’
The Sugababes originally formed in 1998, but went through numerous line-up changes over the years with all three original members eventually being replaced.
When Siobhan left in 2001 she was replaced by Heidi Range, Mutya left in 2005 and was replaced by Amelle Berrabah and Keisha was replaced by Jade Ewan when she departed in 2009.
The replacement members stopped making music in 2011.
But back as the Sugababes now, Mutya, Keisha and Siobhán took to Glastonbury’s Avalon stage last year, blowing fans away as they performed classics such as Round Round.
The performance was such a hit that festival security were forced to close off the field due to massive crowds gathering to watch.
Back and forth: The Sugababes originally formed in 1998, but went through numerous line-up changes over the years with all three original members eventually being replaced (pictured in 2001)
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