Joey Essex tackles 20 years of ‘bottled up pain’ from mum’s death as he starts therapy

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Joey Essex has opened up about how therapy is helping him to confront the grief he’s bottled up since tragically losing his mum Tina twenty years ago.

When Joey was just ten years old, Tina tragically took her own life after a lengthy battle with depression.

And in Joey’s new BBC One documentary, Joey Essex: Grief and Me, the former TOWIE star admits he has never faced his childhood trauma head on – until today.

He allows the cameras into his life as he opens up about his feelings for the first time, before attending therapy to help come to terms with what happened.

The 30-year-old explains: “The truth is, I’ve never been able to deal with it.”

“I’ve kept all this pain bottled up for 20 years – getting panic attacks, feeling anxious and pushing people away. I can’t go on like this, something’s got to change.”

And in an exclusive interview in new magazine, Joey admits that it’s something he has not wanted to do before, as he was too afraid to look back.

He explains: “I’ve always kept it closed and not wanted to talk to anyone about it – not even family or friends.

“Any time anyone says anything about my mum I just walk away or I’ll change the conversation. I only realised I was doing that a couple of years ago.”

But as part of the documentary Joey agrees to attend therapy – an ongoing process he describes as “really hard” but ultimately life-changing.

He explains: “It was really hard because I thought it would be OK and I’d just go in there and talk about mum. But then it got on top of me and I couldn’t understand why I felt so hurt.”

“I remember when I first met the psychologist I went through this really dark patch for about two weeks while filming the documentary.”

Joey continues: “Behind closed doors I was in a bad way. I remember going to my nan’s house and I was in my car just crying. Then I realised it was because I was holding in all the pain still.”

However, after making a breakthrough with his therapist and realising he was in a safe space where he could talk openly about his innermost thoughts, Joey began to see the benefits.

He explains: “Look, I’m not fixed. We’re all a work in progress. But I definitely think it’s helped and I’m still talking to him even now, every Tuesday.”

“I never realised what it was like to actually talk to a psychologist and get that help. It’s definitely made a difference to my life, 100%.”

Joey Essex: Grief and Me, Thursday, 9pm, BBC One

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