Emmerdale star Matthew Wolfenden is best known for his character David Metcalfe which he has continued to play in the soap for more than 15 years.
However, not everything has been plain sailing for the 41-year-old actor after he shared his struggles with depression during a candid conversation on ITV’s Loose Women.
The northern actor opened up about his eight-year battle with his mental health when he first started out as a budding actor at the young age of 23.
As he tackled his long-term condition, the star revealed he wasn’t always given the support he needed from doctors as he continued to manage his mental health on his own.
Speaking of his plight on the hit daytime show, the star recalled: “I suffered with depression from the age of 23 to 31.
“There were various things going on in my life when I was 23 and that why I ended up going to the doctors.
“The first time the doctor did was to give me a prescription for antidepressants. He didn’t suggest that I go to talk to someone.”
But the medication he was provided didn’t address the heart of the issue behind his low mood, and shared how his anti-depressants only masked the problem.
Matthew explained: “Once you’re on antidepressants it’s very hard to come off them. It's almost like a bandage. It's like masking the fact that you’ve got depression.”
And things soon went from bad to worse when the star noticed a significant shift in his mood after he underwent an operation to help mend his back injury.
Prior to his acting career, the star was originally on track to become an Olympic gymnast before his horrific injury at the age of 16.
While training on the rings, Matthew lost concentration and fell off the apparatus and landed onto his head which fractured two of his vertebrae.
But during his recovery process, the star found himself spiralling into a dark place as he slowly regained his physical strength behind closed doors.
“I got lower and lower and lower. I had to quit my job. I was in the West End working as a dancer at the time,” he added.
“I had to take a sabbatical from that, I was on antidepressants for eight years.”
Eventually, the star started to slowly wean himself off the prescription drugs and sought out help from a therapist to help him tackle the underlying issue.
Now Matthew has recovered from his dark depression and boasts a successful marriage with his co-star Charley Webb after they tied the knot in 2018.
The happy couple now share three sons together, 11-year old Buster, six-year old Bowie and his youngest son Ace, two.
One of the best outlets the doting dad uses to keep his mind clear of negative thoughts is through exercise.
The actor recently took to Instagram to share the health benefits he has found both mentally and physically when he works out on a regular basis.
He penned: “I’ve been open to talking about my own mental health, and struggles with depression over the years, and lockdown, I'm sure has created more mental health problems than ever before.
“Being able to get back in the gym, for me, not only helps me physically, but more important mentally."
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Depression is one of the leading causes of disability around the world with one in every five adults in the UK believed to be affected by it.
The NHS defines depression as "a low mood that can last a long time or keep returning, affecting your everyday life."
If you are going through a difficult time and need someone to talk to, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123.
Emmerdale continues Friday on ITV at 7pm
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