Bake Off 's Candice Brown felt 'ashamed' of mental health before ADHD diagnosis

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Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown has opened up about her ADHD diagnosis, saying she spent ‘years being ashamed’ of her mental health troubles.

The cook, 36, learned she had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in January, explaining she also has depression, post traumatic stress disorder and chronic phobia.

During an appearance on Loose Women on Friday, Candice said: ‘I’ve spent so many years being ashamed of this mental health. I suffered trauma which led to the depression and PTSD.

‘It took me so long to realise it’s not my fault, it was something that’s quite wrong.’

The television personality explained she had struggled with her mental health for seven years before she rose to fame on GBBO in 2016.

She said: ‘I got diagnosed with ADHD in January last year which kind of explains that it’s not just me being completely disorganised, completely late, completely a bumblebee, which is what my family call me.’

ADHD is a condition that affects how people behave, with most people getting a diagnosis between the ages of six and 12. Few adults are diagnosed or treated.

Symptoms in adulthood include difficulty in following directions, trouble remembering information, and poor concentration and organisation.

It can cause anxiety, depression, impulsiveness, low self-esteem, mood swings, relationship problems and substance abuse or addiction.

Candice went on to explain she did not recognise the symptoms within herself despite previously working in the special needs department of a school as a teacher.

The star added: ‘I function quite highly, it’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to ask for help.

‘Cooking has always been my kind of happy place, my go to place, the kitchen. I would be all-consumed by it. It’s one of the only things that would hold my attention.’

In addition to her mental health troubles, in April, Candice opened up on the ‘hardest year’ of her life, in which her marriage broke down and her business suffered due to lockdown.

lifted the lid on her split from tree surgeon ex-husband Liam Macauley last July after less than two years of marriage. 

She told The Burnt Chef Journal podcast: ‘I had a very difficult year last year — the hardest of my life. 

‘How the f**k I’m still going, I don’t know. But it was just a lot to take in, a lot to deal with.’

Candice also faced difficulties after her pub, the Green Man in Eversholt, had to close for many months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She revealed: ‘On the days we were shut and towards the end of the year I said, “I don’t know if I can do this on my own if lockdown happens again. I just can’t do it.”

‘I need to be on the go all the time and that silence and darkness on top of a brain that can be quite dark anyway was a lot.’ 

Candice’s split from Liam was revealed in August, after reports claimed he moved out of the pub they had lived in together in Milton Keynes. 

The pair had been together since meeting in a bar Liam worked at while studying for a degree in 2012, and had announced their engagement in 2017, a year after she appeared on Bake Off, winning the show.

The couple tied the knot at Château de Varennes in Burgundy, France, in September 2018, but announced their split just a weeks shy of their two-year wedding anniversary.

Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.

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