EastEnders’ Cheryl Fergison on her brutal addiction to self harm – ‘it took years but I’m in a good place now’

For anyone who has been through cancer the end of treatment is often a time to celebrate.

But for former EastEnders favourite Cheryl Fergison it signalled only the start of a second nightmare involving years of self harm.

Having been diagnosed with cancer of the womb in 2015 and subsequently undergoing a hysterectomy and five week course of radiotherapy she continued to wrongly believe that cancer cells remained in her body.

That psychological stress led her to start to start to hurt herself. Despite reassurance that doctors would monitor her for years to come and indeed getting the five-year sign-off in 2020, Cheryl took matters into her own hands – with terrible results.

EastEnder's favourite Cheryl Fergison
Cheryl Fergison has revealed her battle with self harm – ‘I’m in a good place now’

“In my head, I thought I still had cancer cells in me. Doctors had talked about having done a ‘washing’ procedure as part of the surgery so I thought right, I’ll wash myself, I’ll wash these cells away,” recalled Cheryl, 58, who played Heather Trott for half a decade on the soap.

“So every day, sometimes twice a day, I would get a shower head and get the water at its hottest setting – as much as I could bear – and use it in the same area.

“I was doing this for years. It became a routine, like an addiction. I told nobody except Yass and he would try to stop me – he was so supportive – but it was in my head.”

Burned and sore, smear tests became too painful to bear. Sex with her husband Yass was difficult and the tender skin would sometimes bleed. She now has a partial bladder prolapse, she believes as a result of her actions.

Cheryl and her husband Yassine who have been married for 12 years
Cheryl’s husband of 12 years Yass tried to stop her self harm but, says Cheryl, it was ‘in her head’

“I just thought: ‘this is what I have to do’. I’d try to wean myself off but I’d always do it again. You go through a threshold of pain – if I had to do fire eating for a living it wouldn’t be a problem,” explained Cheryl who now lives with her husband of 12 years in Blackpool together with her son from a previous marriage, 24-year-old Alex.

The harm stopped only last year after her move north when, terrified that further backache was a signal that the cancer had returned, she consulted local doctors.

“They looked into it. They had trouble getting hold of my notes but, when they did and they looked at them, it turned out the initial treatment had got all the cancer.

“The day after I got that news I stopped hurting myself. In my head seeing and hearing that evidence gave me the proof I needed.

Cheryl Fergison with her son Alex and husband Yass
Soap favourite Cheryl was diagnosed with cancer of the womb in 2015

“My mind was at ease at last. I’m in a good place now.”

The mum of one was originally diagnosed with cancer while living in Kent after experiencing back ache and some unexplained spotting.

She said hearing the news she had Stage 2 cancer of the womb left her ‘stunned to the core’ and asking ‘why me?’

But she got through the treatment with the help and support of family and friends.

Cheryl is adamant she doesn’t blame anybody for her belief she still had cancer cells within her and remains a huge advocate for the NHS.

“But I know what I was told and that caused me all of those years of psychological stress.

“It’s so important to get all the documentation and get clear explanations and help in understanding terminology.

Actress Cheryl Fergison now wants to help other women
The actress now wants her story to empower other women to take their health seriously

“Perhaps if I’d had my original medical paperwork to read for myself it would have been different but I didn’t.

“I do blame myself a little for what I did – I felt as a strong woman I could deal with it all.

“But sometimes we all need to put our hands up and say ‘I need help’.”

Now the mum of one is encouraging all women to step up to the plate when it comes to their health.

“I’d like my story to empower other women. Listen to your body. Even if it’s the smallest concern – go and get checked because if you haven’t got health, you’ve not got no wealth.

“Nothing is a taboo subject and it’s important that we talk.”

View news Source: https://www.ok.co.uk/tv/soaps/eastenders-cheryl-fergison-brutal-addiction-32697677

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