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    Sheridan Smith Is More Of A Role Model Now Than Before She Dropped Out Of Funny Girl

    Sheridan Smith's withdrawal from the west end production has not shown her to be weak - it has shown her to be strong. That is something we can all learn from

    Sheridan Smith Is More Of A Role Model Now Than Before She Dropped Out Of Funny Girl

    The news of Sheridan Smith leaving 'funny girl' this week struck me. Her reason for leaving the play was due to stress and exhaustion and it's not a surprise. Sheridan's father is seriously ill with cancer and living four hours away while she is in a west end production which will include working long hours and dealing with high stress. She is also coping with being in the public eye and having practically her every move scrutinized. Many tweets and Facebook comments I have seen have shown people saying that she should stop being ungrateful, or that a job in the NHS would teach her real stress. The majority of the press has somehow managed to be even less understanding than that.

    Up until March of this year I was a third year student at a top 10 university studying a Social Work degree. I was on an unpaid placement in mental health services at the local hospital. I came from a pretty stable family and I was fully aware of how lucky I was. Unfortunately it all went pear shaped when I tried to commit suicide because everything had just got too much for me.

    Like Sheridan Smith, I had a family member who had suffered with cancer and who died a few months before I started placement. I was working long hours in a stressful placement for no pay. I lived in a student house which was of extremely low quality (we didn't even have a working shower for months) and I was living with four other people who were also working long hours at placement or in a job which meant that arguments were frequent.

    Unfortunately I felt pressure to put my feelings to the side and 'get on with it' - the same pressure people are trying to put on Sheridan Smith at the moment.

    There were days that I would just cry in the toilets at placement and I'd get back to my cold and miserable shared house and just sleep as soon as I got home because I was so exhausted. To everyone else, including my mother, it seemed I was getting on alright so it was a shock to a lot of people when a seemingly insignificant argument with a man I was seeing caused me to take an overdose and end up in hospital.

    I have always loved Sheridan Smith. Roody in Gavin and Stacey made me howl with laughter and as Mrs Biggs she made me cry. But I never considered her a role model until she left Funny Girl. She had the bravery to say 'this is too much for me' which is something now that I've had to leave university for a while, I really regret that I didn't do.

    There is no shame in saying things are too much. After my 'breakdown' I was ashamed that I had, in my opinion, screwed up everything but I was surprised at how many people told me that they'd either done what I'd done or come close to it.

    People don't tend to talk about these problems but it's something that should change. We all claim that we think it's a tragedy when a person takes their life or dies through addiction but we don't support them enough when they do say 'things are too much'. Let's support them early on and hopefully we can prevent a great deal of the disasters that occur when things just become too much for a person.

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