Strictly gave me PTSD – I needed professional help on the show and it still affects me now, admits Rachel Riley | The Sun

RACHEL Riley has revealed how taking part in Strictly Come Dancing left her with PTSD.

The Countdown star took part in the 2013 series and was paired with her now husband, Pasha Kovalev.

The couple reached week six of the competition, and despite embarking on a relationship months after the show ended, Rachel, 37, doesn't have the nicest memories of her time in the ballroom.

Speaking on the Spinning Plates podcast, she revealed how she struggled to watch Pasha, 43, on the show in the subsequent years and that the Strictly theme tune triggers bad feelings for her.

Rachel, who has two young daughters with Pasha, said: "It still gets me. And it is ridiculous. It does do something to your psyche that isn’t comfortable.

"Even now like my body kind of like something’s just like flowing through me that isn’t comfortable.

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“And I hate the theme tune and I have to put a brave face on with the girls and I’m like ‘Yay, daddy’s on’.

"I mean I did get mild PTSD after it. I think the eventual way I decided I learned to deal with it is to ignore it as much as possible."

She continued: “I tried immersive, I tried ignoring it, I tried everything. The best way was to let it wash over me because obviously I was with Pasha so every year I’d find that I’d go through each week I’d know exactly what week it was, and I’d have like the memories of my experience on it, plus the memories of each year, and I’d like bring on everything that he was going through each week as well. So it was compounding.

“I just don’t like [it]. I mean I had a great time while I was on it, but when I was off it, I think only someone that’s been on that mad rollercoaster can quite get it."

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Rachel also revealed how Pasha got her some help while she was still on the show.

She said: "Pasha got me a CBT session while I was on it because when I was in the dance off I just got stage fright and I came back the next week and I was just not there.

“And he said ‘what’s happened to you?’ So he sent me for rapid CBT. And it was one of the most brilliant things I’ve done in my life because it taught me I was a perfectionist, which I didn’t realise.

“I thought being a perfectionist meant you wanted everything to be perfect, but it doesn’t.

"It means whenever you do something you pick at the small things that go wrong rather than the CBT taught me to actually set a target before I do anything and then if you achieve that, look at that and be proud rather than look at the things that always go wrong and pick yourself apart.”

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