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Friday 6th December 2019

Ex EastEnders actress Rita Simons appeals to fans over 'life destroying disorder'

She has suffered from OCD

Former EastEnders star Rita Simons has shared a message of support for fans struggling with a "life destroying disorder" and told them help is available.

The actress, 42, issued an appeal to people struggling with anxiety as she lamented the fact that so many needlessly "suffer alone".

On Instagram, the ex Walford fave pointed those in need towards No Panic, a registered charity supporting recovery from phobias, OCD and other anxiety disorders.

She posted a message that read: "Don't be afraid to reach out for help. There is no need to suffer alone.

Read more: Rita Simons stuns fans with picture of her "mini-me" daughter

"Anxiety is no longer a taboo subject and there are many things that can help you control or even recover from this life-destroying disorder.

"Get in touch to find out how we can help. #HereToHelp."

Rita wrote in the post's caption: "I have been a patron for @charitynopanic for quite a few years now. So many people suffer alone. They are here to help."

Earlier this year, she opened up about suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and said she once feared everyone around her might die.

Rita revealed on Lorraine that she used to perform "rituals" to try to stop her friends and family from suddenly passing away, and would carry her grandparents' address around in her back pocket "at all times" in case everybody died.

She said on the programme: "From the age of probably three I was a worrier. I used to have obsessive, compulsive behaviours but I didn't realise that's what it was until I was older.

So many people suffer alone.

"A lot of people with OCD have a thing they worry about - mine was, 'Everyone is going to die.'

"I would walk around with my grandparents' address in my back pocket at all times in case everybody died. I would do rituals and all sorts of things in order to stop them dying."

She also said that while she was on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! last year, she had a number of conversations about mental health with The Chase's Anne Hegerty, who was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in her 40s.

Rita was the fourth to be voted off I'm A Celeb in 2018 (Credit: ITV)

Read more: I'm A Celebrity's Rita Simons cringes after she discovers 'loud fart' went viral

Speaking further, Rita said: "I was just 14 years old when I was diagnosed with OCD and sometimes being a little OCD isn't really what you might think it is.

"For me it certainly isn't an obsession with being clean and tidy.

"This is the first time I've spoken in depth about having OCD. It wasn't until I was in the jungle that it kind of had a light shone on it. I'm fully diagnosed OCD. With Anne and her autism we spoke a lot about mental health."

Rita played Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders from 2007 until her character's death in 2017.

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