AARON CHALMERS revealed professional fighting helped him overcome anxiety from his Geordie Shore fame.
The 32-year-old went from local scaffolder to MTV celebrity overnight in 2014 and spent four years on the show.
@aaroncgshore offers words of support and encouragement for anyone struggling with their mental health. Thank you to all Bellator Europe stars who are helping us raise awareness during #MentalHealthAwareness week.
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But the constant online abuse proved too much to handle for Chalmers, who turned to drinking to combat his anxiety.
On Mental Health Awareness week, he said: "My mental health struggles started when I was on TV.
"Obviously, I went from having just a normal job as a scaffolder to then being thrown into the limelight, on a pedestal for abuse.
"I'd never really witnessed that before. Overnight having hundreds and thousands of people following us, giving us abuse.
"I'd be filming for six weeks, without a phone, drinking every night and drinking is not the best for mental health anyway. It was a vicious circle and my anxiety was getting the better of me.
"All we had was one day of media training. But that did not prepare us for the abuse I was going to get, it was constant and just a mad experience."
After his first pro MMA fight in 2017, Chalmers left the Geordie Shore house a year later to focus on his dream of succeeding in the cage.
And having swapped the booze for hours of hard graft and dedication in the gym, the 5–2 Bellator welterweight is fighting his mental health problems.
Chalmers said: "Fighting has done us a world of good.
"When I'm in the gym I just don't care. Whereas before fighting, when my anxiety was bad I would just start drinking, because once you get p****d nothing matters, but then the next day it comes back twice as bad.
"Now, when I have a bit of anxiety going to the gym helps me out as I can be around people with the same mindset."
Chalmers signed for US giants Bellator in 2018 and moved to 4-0 quickly before suffering two losses in his last three fights.
But under the guidance of ex-Cage Warriors champion Alex Elund in Newcastle, he feels in the form of his life physically but most importantly mentally.
Chalmers revealed: "You have to be around the right people.
"When my anxiety was that bad I would barely be able to leave the house to go shopping, let alone be walking down the ramp to the cage.
"People like my coaches, Alex Enlund, my fight in London he was with us the whole week. So he can see when my mind stars working overtime.
"I get quite fidgety when I'm anxious, and start rubbing my hands together, he can see that so he'll say 'Right, lets go for a coffee' or 'Lets go hit some pads'.
"In the past when I didn't have a proper team I'd just be in my room, proper anxious, but the right people around you makes all the difference."
Chalmers wanted to fight four times this year, until the coronavirus pandemic KO'd those plans.
But while taking time off following the birth of his newborn son Romeo in April, Aaron has been fitting in lockdown training sessions with brother Terry, an ex marine.
Chalmers said: "I am still training, still getting in a good day down the track or doing like 40 or 50 miles on the bike to get the engine condition so when the gym opens I don't need to worry.
"Me and my brother having been going back to the old school; we've got pedal bikes, medicine balls, skipping ropes and it's such a simple workout but we do a hell of a lot of work.
"My PT has sent me workouts, but my brother is an ex marine, so experienced and we've been doing a lot of body weight stuff.
"I found in my last fight I was pretty week, so much so that I couldn't do three sets of 10 pull ups, so we've been doing lots of body weight stuff.
"I've been able to work on things that get put the back during a fight camp. So where I would be doing strength work just once a week, I've been doing it every other day.
"They were just little things I wanted to work on anyway, and now I've got the time to do it."
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