By EMILY SHERIDAN
Smiling again: The Saturdays singer Frankie Sandford has opened up on her battle with depression in the new issue of Glamour's UK edition
Six months ago, Frankie Sandford took time out of The Saturdays for an undisclosed illness.
And now the 23-year-old singer has given a revealing interview in which she opens up on her secret battle with depression.
The Essex native admits she has battled negative thoughts and panic attacks on and off since she was 15, but things finally came to a head last October, leading to her being hospitalised. In the run-up to seeking treatment, Sandford found herself arguing with footballer boyfriend Wayne Bride over trivial things and questioning her looks, talent and personality.
Speaking about her depression for the first time in the May issue of Glamour magazine, Sandford says she is looking forward to the future, but is realistic that 'no one is 100 per cent happy all of the time'.
She recalled the moment when it started unravelling last year: 'One night, I got upset because Wayne hadn't bought the right yoghurts. I manage to convince myself he didn't know me at all.
'I felt that I was worthless, that I was ugly': At her lowest, Sandford questioned her looks, talent and personality
'It set off this spiral of negative thinking – that if I disappeared, it wouldn’t matter to anyone. In fact, it would make everybody’s life easier. I felt that I was worthless, that I was ugly, that I didn’t deserve anything.'
After contacting her doctor, she was advised to go for a quiet break in the Cotswolds with Bridge and their two dogs, but it still didn't help.
She admitted ending up hysterical and having a panic attack, with a helpless Bridge unable to calm her.
Shortly before the break, on a promotional visit to Ireland, Sandford said she was constantly questioning whether the group's fans really liked her.
She said: 'Every time I spoke to someone, I’d be thinking, "They probably think I’m a horrible person. Am I boring them? Do I look ugly?"'
When she finally decided to seek help, Sandford admitted she was worried her fellow patients would judge her.
The May issue of GLAMOUR is on sale from Monday 2nd April
She explained: 'I was so nervous, because I was "Frankie from The Saturdays". I didn't know if people would be horrible to me and say: "You're in a successful girl band, you've got this great boyfriend, he's got loads of money."
'But nobody judged me. Nobody thought I was weird.'
Sandford said her bandmates Una Healy, Vanessa White, Mollie King and Rochelle Wiseman were shocked at what she had been hiding, but understanding.
After a month in hospital, she didn't have much time before she was back in the fold of the band, with their All Fired Up tour about to start.
Supportive: Sandford with her Saturdays bandmates (L-R) Una Healy, Rochelle Wiseman, Vanessa White and Mollie King last year
Although she suffered one panic attack, generally the tour was a success and Sandford finally felt like she was back in control.
Speaking to Glamour for their Hey, It's OK campaign, in conjunction with the mental health charity Mind, Sandford said she hopes her honesty about her battle with depression will help others.
She added: 'I did lose myself, but I feel like me again now. But I try not to put pressure on myself – it’s unrealistic, no one is 100 per cent happy all of the time.”
The May issue of GLAMOUR is on sale from Monday 2nd April.