A “Big Brother” contestant recently opened up about struggling with panic attacks and anxiety. Season 18 winner Nicole Franzel said in an Instagram story that she thinks going on reality TV is the cause of her mental health struggles.
Read on to find out what Franzel was dealing with and how she worked through it to become a healthier person.
Franzel Had Nightly Panic Attacks For Almost a Year
In an Instagram post, Franzel said that while right now she is “truly the happiest [she’s] ever been,” there was a time when she would have daily panic attacks, sometimes more than once a day. But she wanted to share how she got where she is now
“in hopes to help anyone who needs it.”
I had panic attacks for a year straight, close to every night. Every night for a year I felt like my heart was going to explode and I would fall to the ground as some kind of coping mechanism then go to the ER to ensure I was okay. I couldn’t go anywhere alone, I couldn’t socialize, I couldn’t sleep, I didn’t feel like I was living most days. I was a zombie, trying to survive one minute at a time. I was a shell of myself, tiptoeing around everything that could set off another attack.
I prayed, I cried, I prayed some more, and begged God to help me. Well this is me today, living my best, happiest life I’ve ever lived. Going through that changed me, it made me SO GRATEFUL for good days and I have had good days for a year straight now.
She goes on to say that reading the book “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” was a game-changer and also not being afraid to take some anti-anxiety medication was helpful.
Franzel Thinks Reality TV Was Part of the Cause of Her Mental Health Struggles
In a separate Instagram story, Franzel recently said that reality TV is at least partially to blame for her panic attacks.
“I didn’t get bad panic attacks until after ‘The Amazing Race,’ so I think that reality TV caused this,” said Franzel, who has appeared on three seasons of “Big Brother” and one season of “The Amazing Race.”
She’s not the first “Big Brother” alumni to express that feeling. “Big Brother 12” player Ragan Fox also said that going on the show triggered his mental breakdown, telling the “Hello Friends” podcast, “‘Big Brother’ acted as a catalyst that kind of sped up the process of me reaching a breaking point. Luckily, my mom was in town. I had to get an emergency appointment to see a psychiatrist, it was really bad. I thought I was never gonna be normal again.”
Franzel’s fellow season 16 contestant Frankie Grande also recently said that his advice to any would-be players is to “make sure you have a good therapist” if you’re going to be on “Big Brother.”
But in her Instagram story, Franzel also said that “Big Brother” production was very concerned about her anxiety when they were vetting her for “Big Brother: All-Stars” in 2020.
“When I went back on ‘Big Brother: All-Stars, they really were concerned because I was talking about my anxiety. So being open about it made them realize that I struggled with anxiety,” she said, adding that had she “kept it a secret,” it “wouldn’t have been an issue,” which she found “super weird.”
But Franzel said she had to “convince” production she was strong enough to go on the show before they would agree to put her in the cast.
“I was absolutely strong enough,” said Franzel, adding, “I didn’t even get a Xanax in there the whole entire time and it was a crazy season.”
Big Brother U.S. returns in summer 2021 for its 23rd season.
READ NEXT: ‘Big Brother’ Season 23 Spoilers: Cast Info and More
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