Nicky Campbell reveals he felt like an 'imposter in his own life'

Long Lost Family host Nicky Campbell reveals he felt like an ‘imposter in his own life’ before his public breakdown and bipolar diagnosis after years of struggling with being adopted

  • Nicky Campbell, 59, diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year after breakdown
  • He was left ‘sobbing’ in public feeling like ‘everything had fallen on top of him’ 
  • Presenter’s struggles have been documented in new memoir One of the Family 

Nicky Campbell has revealed how he felt like an ‘imposter in his own life’ after being adopted a few days after he was born. 

The Long Lost Family host, 59, today released his memoir ‘One of the Family’, which details his life adoptive parents, Frank and Sheila Campbell, his search for his birth mother, and how his ‘miracle dog’ Maxwell helped with his mental health. 

Appearing on Lorraine today from his London home, he opened up about having a breakdown in public shortly before he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, where he began ‘sobbing’ outside Euston station. 

The BBC Radio 5Live presenter said it’s been ‘fantastic’ knowing ‘what’s been wrong for all his life’ following his diagnosis, and that the reaction to his book from others who have been adopted has been ‘amazing’. 

The Long Lost Family host Nicky Campbell (pictured on the show with co-host Davina McCall) told how he felt like an ‘imposter in his own life’ after being adopted a few days after he was born 

Appearing on Lorraine today from his London home, he opened up about having a breakdown in public shortly before he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder

When asked how he’s coping now, Nicky said: ‘I’m great, it’s good. Getting a diagnosis and knowing what was wrong all your life has just been fantastic, and my friends have been amazing and if this resonates with people, it’s all kind of worth it.  

‘I think a lot of adopted people have it, [feelings of] I don’t deserve it, I should be someone else but I’m not someone else, and the feeling of being an imposter in your own life. But it’s all good, and the reaction so far has been amazing’. 

His new book, One of the Family: Why A Dog Called Maxwell Changed My Life, gives a candid look at Nicky’s mental health struggles, and the presenter told the reaction he’s had to the book, even before publication, has made it ‘all worthwhile’. 

‘It’s so difficult talking about this stuff,’ said Nicky. ‘It’s much easier writing about it, but I think it’s important.

The BBC Radio 5Live presenter told host Ranvir Singh (pictured) how it’s been ‘fantastic’ knowing ‘what’s been wrong for all his life’ following his diagnosis

He emotionally described the breakdown,  where he began ‘sobbing’ outside Euston station when ‘everything fell on top of him’ 

‘The reaction I had, even in the run-up to publication, from adopted people, people who suffer mental health issues, and animal lovers – I adore animals and try and fight for those who are exploited – makes it all worthwhile. From adopted people who recognise what I’m saying about being an imposter, you don’t deserve it’. 

The book touches on a public breakdown which left him crying on the floor after ‘everything fell on top of him’, and he explained how it was his wife Christina ‘Tina’ Ritchie and dog Maxwell who helped him cope.  

‘Over the last 11 years on Long Lost Family, people have been so honest with us, amazingly honest, it’s the most incredible thing.  I have met so many birth mothers , adopted mothers and children like myself – we’re always children – and I just, thought they’ve been honest with us, it’s my turn. 

‘If you’re going to talk about this stuff, you can’t be sparing. I’ll try and get through this sentence. Dropping to my knees and everything fell on top of me outside Euston station, just sobbing. 

Nicky, pictured in 2018, spoke about how hosting Long Lost Family has ‘changed his life utterly’ and that he feels people who have been adopted have a ‘hidden language’

‘My wife Tina kind of knew it was coming and then being diagnosed as bipolar. I have to talk about this stuff’.  

‘The wonderful thing about my love for animals is, Tina said “Come home, back to your family, back to me, back to Maxwell”. I’ve always had this connection with dogs. ‘ 

He spoke about how hosting Long Lost Family has ‘changed his life utterly’ and that he feels people who have been adopted have a ‘hidden language’ and can ‘understand each other.’  

‘For me, people come to Long Lost Family and they say they’ve really helped us and it’s changed lives, but that programme changed my life utterly. 

‘It concentrated my mind on everything i’ve gone through before. With adopted people there’s a language, We kind of understand each other, there’s a hidden language.’ 

Speaking on his adoptive mother Sheila he added: ‘This book is dedicated to my mum and the worst thing is when people say “Did you ever find your real mum?”. 

‘My adoptive mum was my real mum, she was the most amazing woman. She died just before Covid and I count my blessings every day we were able to have a funeral.’  

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