Singer/actress LeAnn Rimes doubts she would have lived past 30 had she not sought treatment for her depression and anxiety issues.
The Can't Fight the Moonlight hitmaker opened up about her mental health struggles as she was honoured at the Hope for Depression Research Foundation's 13th Annual Luncheon Seminar at New York City's The Plaza Hotel on Wednesday (06Nov19), when she was presented with the Hope Award for Depression Advocacy.
In her acceptance speech, Rimes fought back tears as she recalled checking herself into a medical facility just a day after hitting the age milestone in 2012 in a bid to save her sanity - and she's convinced it ultimately saved her life.
"Honestly, it was the best birthday gift I could have ever given myself because I don't know if I would have made it to the next one," she shared.
Rimes admits the stress of the tabloid scandal surrounding her extramarital affair and subsequent wedding to actor Eddie Cibrian in 2011 really took a toll on her mental wellbeing and she was on the verge of a breakdown: "All the running, and all of the hiding and all of the shame that lived inside (me during that period) was incredibly exhausting," she confessed.
"I wasn't sleeping, though I couldn't get out of bed, which made no sense to me. I was having debilitating panic attacks where I could not breathe and honestly, I think I've been holding my breath my entire life."
It was only when her "wonderful" loved ones recognised her signs of distress that they encouraged her to seek professional help - and for that, she feels so grateful and "so fortunate".
Rimes, 37, claims her depression has now subsided "for the most part", and even though she still "wrestles" with anxiety every day, the star is pleased to be able to speak more openly about such topics.
"The conversation is changing around mental health, and I'm so happy that it is," she said.
Concluding her speech, she added, "I've accepted many awards in my life, but I never thought I'd be accepting one for this. And honestly, this is one that I will be most proud to put up on my mantle. So, thank you."
Rimes follows in the footsteps of previous Hope Award honourees such as actresses Brooke Shields, Ashley Judd, and Mariel Hemingway, and newsman Anderson Cooper.
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