ITV News at Ten anchor Tom Bradby has said suffering from insomnia last year felt “ten times more frightening” than being shot in the leg in Indonesia earlier in his career.
Bradby was forced to take about four months off from presenting the news last year after he began to struggle to sleep, with five totally sleepless nights over the course of three weeks.
On other nights, he would still be awake and in a “total panic” at 3am when he would take a sleeping pill and wake up three hours later nonetheless.
The 52-year-old opened up about his insomnia battle for the first time in an interview with the Sunday Times Magazine this weekend, revealing how he “limped through” the news before finally being signed off work in April.
Throughout that period, he insisted to colleagues he was alright and remembers being exhausted at work on the day of the birth of Prince Louis on 23 April.
“I got through that day but I felt terrible the next morning and couldn’t get out of bed,” he told the Sunday Times.
“Suddenly, I was in a really bad crisis, a total mess. I was trying to do News at Ten and literally limping through it.”
Bradby, who was hit by a flare in the leg in Jakarta while reporting on riots as ITV News’ Asia correspondent, said: “Once you get to the point where you’ve had no sleep for a number of nights — I mean, I got shot in Indonesia in 1999. This was ten times more frightening.”
Bradby was prescribed antidepressants and cognitive behavioural therapy and told to switch off by his doctor, who described what he was going through as the “mental health equivalent of a heart attack”.
His ITV bosses were “amazing” when he told them what he was going through, he added.
He also revealed he believes his psychological issues were triggered by the deaths of his parents in 2012 and 2016 respectively.
Bradby returned to TV screens in early August after three months signed off in which he “just walked the dogs and sat in the garden and cooked”.
He is still on an antidepressant “with a very sedative effect” but is in a “massively better mental place,” he said.