British Indian actress Paige Sandhu battled insomnia and anxiety before landing her role on the popular soap 'Emmerdale'.
The 24-year-old actress joined the ITV soap as killer nurse Meena Jutla in September last year, but her only television work prior to the role was two episodes of 'Doctors' and a one-off appearance in 'Endeavour'.
She told the ‘Daily Mirror’ newspaper: "When I left drama school I was a very anxious person.
"I wasn’t getting any jobs and I was struggling. The anxiety took the form of insomnia. Life was hard and a struggle.”
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During her mental health battle, she got help from tapping therapy – Emotional Freedom Technique – which sees people tapping pressure points on the head and face with the belief it creates a balance in your energy system.
She added: “I read a couple of books on it and found it really helpful. I’d tap on the train or bus on the way to auditions. People would give me the weirdest looks.”
Now, Paige is in a much happier state of mind, but she still makes sure to take care of herself by meditating, writing down her feelings and fears, and keeping fit with Pilates and Yoga.
She explained: "Just syncing my breath with the movement of my body and getting away from my thoughts can be really useful.
“I also read a lot of self-help books. I’ve trained my brain to focus on the positive rather than the negative. So, before the 'Emmerdale' audition I didn’t let my brain think it was going to go badly. I just had this feeling that Meena was meant for me."
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Paige did have to hide her character's true nature from her co-stars – including Matthew Wolfenden (David Metcalfe) – with bosses keen to keep things a mystery.
She said: "He would get really annoyed. He’d say, 'Do you know what’s going to happen with your character?’ I’d say, ‘Yes, but I can’t say’.”