Actor Hugh Bonneville had “horrible panic attacks” as a teenager, the Downton Abbey star has said, and at one stage he did not believe he would make it as an actor.
In a wide-ranging interview for The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self series, he discussed boarding school, The National Youth Theatre and the moments that changed his life forever.
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“I remember having horrible panic attacks when I was in my teens, but mental health was not addressed or shared in the same way it is now,” he said.
“Particularly if you’re in a boarding school environment where any sign of weakness is… not necessarily pounced on – I think we were a very benevolent school on the whole – but some people suffered.
“I can analyse what I had as panic attacks now, but at the time I thought I was having a heart attack. But it just wasn’t the done thing to talk about it. When I look back now I think I’d like to say to my younger self, it’s OK. You’re going to be OK.”