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Sharon Horgan speaks about the toll filming takes on her mental health

by Holly O'Neill
26th Jul 2020

Sharon Horgan opened up on the Desert Island Discs podcast about her mental health struggles and being separated from her family

Writer, actor and producer Sharon Horgan has spoken on the Desert Island Discs podcast about mental health struggles from being separated from her family during her busy filming schedule.

Sharon, who grew up on a turkey farm in Meath, says she “lost her mind completely” with mental illness and anxiety while being away from her family in New York working on comedy-drama, Divorce.

The co-creator of TV comedy shows Catastrophe, Divorce, Motherland and Pulling told Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne that she suffered with OCD and anxiety while working on her series that stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church.

“I would lie in bed at night and I would feel my heart going and I would think: ‘Oh, I am about to have a heart attack.’ It was only afterwards that I realised it was anxiety,” she said.

She described living away from her family as painful, saying “every couple of weeks I would go back or they would come over. But it was still ridiculously long and painful. I lost my mind completely and I got OCD from it. I developed anxiety,” she explained on the BBC Radio 4 show.

Sharon has described her time at convent school as being “under the thumb of a quite psychotic nun” who made her feel “a constant sort of fear” that helped build “a really nice juicy level of guilt and shame at an early age”.

Sharon Horgan is now going to therapy, something she says she had avoided out of fear of it ruining her creative process. “I recently started having therapy and doing the normal person’s route rather than making a tv show about it,” she said, “but for years I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to hold onto the mess. I was worried if I got anything fixed that something would be taken from me creatively.”

Listen to Sharon Horgan on Desert Island Discs here.

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