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Coronation Street star Samia Longchambon has told how her lifelong anxiety was misdiagnosed when she was a child as asthma.
The Maria Windass actor has opened up about her long mental health battle and said that the first time she went to a doctor about her condition as a child, she was wrongly diagnosed with the same thing as her character's son Liam.
Soap fans have watched a storyline unfold where Liam is diagnosed with asthma after collapsing struggling for breath, and will see Maria campaign to reduce the amount of traffic around Weatherfield.
Now, Samia, 39, has told how she was once given the same diagnosis – but it turned out to be physical symptoms of anxiety.
Talking to Loose Women on Tuesday about her anxiety struggles, Samia said: "I never really hid it, anyone who knows me knows I'm an anxious person and known for being a bit of a worrier and being really cautious with everything.
"I've had anxiety since I was a child, and when I was a child, ironically, talking about this subject of asthma, the doctor first diagnosed asthma because I couldn't get a deep breath.
"They ended up giving me inhalers when I was 11 thinking it was asthma and it wasn't it was anxiety, but I think as a child back then in the early 90s it wasn't really talked about, children's mental health."
The soap star added that she had found lockdown a relief in some ways as she was more comfortable staying in with family and friends than going on big nights out.
She said: "That was really anxiety inducing listening to the news every day in the early days of the pandemic.
"But I'm such a homebird anyway…That side of it I quite enjoyed, not having to go places and see lots of people… I actually felt it was better for my anxiety in some ways."
Samia said that she has even earned a diploma in cognitive behavioural therapy recently in an effort to get control of her worsening anxiety.
She said: "In the last three years my anxiety's been quite bad, I don't know whether it's to do with being a mum and getting a bit older."
The actor, who has starred in Corrie for 20 years and is married to Dancing On Ice pro Sylvain Longchambon, said that her daughter Freya was hoping to follow in her footsteps on screen.
The mum-of-two said: "My daughter definitely is saying she wants to be an actress and she can cry for fun, it takes her five seconds to get tears, for me I have to put myself in a dark place mentally to start crying, but for Freya she's amazing.
"It's a difficult industry to be in, there's a lot of competition and rejection, it's not something I would ever push her into, but if she wants to do it I would support her."
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