Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa has recalled the time he developed depression before finding fame in the hit Netflix show.
Writing in The Big Issue, the actor, who plays Eric Effiong in the comedy series, discussed being homeless and how it played a part in affecting his mental health.
Recalling the moment he realised he was homeless, Gatwa said: “One friend gave me money towards paying off the prior month’s rent and offered to let me move into their spare room rent free for a while.
“Great, I thought. An opportunity to get back on my feet and start paying people back.
“On moving-in day, he changed his mind. As I was standing on the street with my suitcases, one thought came into my head: ‘I’m homeless.’”
He continued: “Being a 25 year old man with no money or job affected my sense of self-worth. Rejection became unbearable. Auditions weren’t just acting jobs, they were lifelines.
“I couldn’t tell my parents because I already felt like a mess up. I’d been warned that acting was an unstable profession and knew my parents couldn’t support me financially. I had assured them I was going to work as hard as possible to make this career happen so their hard work, as immigrants who fled Rwanda and sacrificed everything for me, wouldn’t be in vain. But I was falling short on my promise.”
“I felt guilty, ashamed, a bit pathetic,” he added.
The experience took a toll on Gatwa’s mental health, admitting that although he had a job temping at Harrods, not everything was as fine as it might have appeared.
“To the outside world everything seemed fine,” he said. “I developed depression. But I never let people know how down I was feeling. That would have been another burden for my friends to take on. My mind became my biggest enemy.
“I felt very alone and trapped, like I was the only one going through this experience. But the sad reality is that last year, 110,000 young people approached their local council because they were homeless or at risk of being homeless.”
This content was originally published here.