AJ Pritchard has opened up about his struggles with mental health (Picture: Getty Images)
AJ Pritchard has opened up about his struggles with panic attacks following his ex-girlfriend Abbie Quinnen’s accident which left him a ‘full-time carer’ in lockdown.
The Strictly Come Dancing star, 28, noticed some ‘red flags’ in his mental health before he reached breaking point, which led him to being hospitalised with panic attacks before knowing what was wrong.
In January 2021, fellow dancer and AJ’s ex-girlfriend Abbie, 25, suffered third degree burns after a TikTok hack video involving a wine bottle and burning rope went horrendously wrong and she was set ablaze.
As the country was in the throes of a lockdown at the time, AJ said he became a ‘full-time carer’ to Abbie, as he cleaned her wounds every two hours and moisturised her damaged skin.
‘Nobody was allowed to come to your house and I was suddenly a full-time carer,’ explained AJ.
Remembering his panic attack in the aftermath of the accident, the star said: ‘I couldn’t see, couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe.’
AJ and Abbie Quinnen split in October last year after three years together (Picture: Getty Images)
AJ was a familiar Strictly Come Dancing face from 2016 to 2019 (Picture: BBC/Ray Burmiston)
‘Even they thought I had some crazy disease, they were going to do a lumbar puncture. I was delirious. There was nothing coming out of me. I just sat rocking in the corner in the dark,’ he told The Mirror.
Not realising he was having a panic attack, AJ ended up in hospital.
In hindsight, AJ admits he should have noticed the signs of his deteriorating mental health and acted before it got this bad.
‘I kept insisting that I was fine but I obviously wasn’t,’ he recalled.
‘It took me being taken to hospital and going through multiple panic attacks before I could admit I needed to talk to somebody.’
AJ now ‘listens’ to his body after he missed the warning signs, which included getting headaches and leaving himself little time to break from work.
Abbie and AJ split in October 2022 after three years together when she claimed he was texting another woman.
At the time Abbie revealed that she was ‘heartbroken’ at the break up and confessed her world ‘fell apart.’
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‘I was delirious.’