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26 July 2020 14:39

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© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Anthony Harvey/Rex/Shutterstock Sharon Horgan "lost her mind completely", falling into mental illness and anxiety during five months spent away from her family in New York working on her American comedy drama, Divorce, she has confided. The Irish actor and writer, who has just turned 50, suffered the bout of OCD and anxiety while she produced the HBO series, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church. Horgan explained that at first she did not realise what was wrong. "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 on Desert Island Discs. Horgan is now seeing a therapist, or "going the normal person's route", for the first time instead of using her comedy as a cathartic relief.

'I lost my mind': Catastrophe star Sharon Horgan tells of mental health ordeal

© Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto Sharon Horgan attends the Military Wives UK Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on February 24, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images) The star and co-creator of the British sitcoms Catastrophe and Pulling was living away from her daughters Sadhbh and Amer and her then husband, Jeremy Rainbird. "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. She now regards the separation as "awful, but it was a choice we made as a family and lots of good things came out of it. It certainly messed me up for a while and I wouldn't want to do it again." Horgan divorced in 2019 after 14 years of marriage, but the performer said she now believes co-parenting with Rainbird, still her partner in the production company, Merman, has made her a better mother. © 2020 Getty Images LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 24: Sharon Horgan and Kristin Scott Thomas (C) with The Military Wives Choir at the "Military Wives" UK Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on February 24, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images) "I was 'fun mum' for years," she said. "I entirely thought that was my role, but that changes when you co-parent. You take on a lot more roles and I am much more practical than I was, and I think that is a positive thing." Horgan also talked about a mental breakdown she suffered during her time at art college in Ireland. She puts her abiding inner panic down to her upbringing on a turkey farm in Ireland with parents, Ursula and John, and her four siblings. Christmas was the ultimate stressful deadline, she recalls. "Because of that we all have this mad panic and drive in us." Her time in a convent school also instilled a deep sense of fear, she believes. A "quite psychotic nun" helped her build up "a really nice juicy level of guilt and shame at an early age". Gallery: The 15 best British shows of all time (Total Films)

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