An X Factor Malta singer who suffered a nervous breakdown right before her audition has warned that a couple of the show’s judges had accused her of faking her anxiety disorder.
“I couldn’t believe I got through the next round in such a state, which I was naturally thankful for, but what should have been euphoria was replaced by disbelief as I was accused of faking my disorder by a couple of the judges, who felt that people with genuine anxiety wouldn’t be able to sing at all so I must’ve put on an act to evoke sympathy,” Johanna Gauci Loporto said in an impassioned Facebook post.
“The agony this accusation caused me and my mother (who was there and whose anxiety disorder is worse than mine as it affects every facet of her life) is indescribable, and what’s worse is that it affected my energy and performance at Boot Camp (the next round).”
During last night’s X Factor Malta episode, Johanna entered the audition room mid breakdown, prompting immediate comments from the judges.
“This is an X Factor audition, you didn’t come to the slaughterhouse,” judge Howard Keith Debono said.
“Shake it off, stage fright is really fearful…really urghh,” fellow judge Ira Losco said.
Johanna proceeded to belt out a rendition of Alicia Keys’ ‘If I Ain’t Got You’, which won her four yeses from the judges.
In her remarks, Alex Alden said the last time she suffered from serious stage fright, she couldn’t sing and was hiccuping throughout the song.
“That’s what’s worrying me, you usually can’t sing when you’re in that state,” Howard Keith responded, moments before stating that her performance, while vocally good, “included a lot of pointless drama”.
However, Johanna said more went on during the audition that was edited out.
“I’m grateful to say that in the airing of my audition, a lot of the hurtful comments were edited out (though there was still a strong implication made by one of the judges),” she said. “But now it seems I’m being forced to relive the humiliation by the comments of some viewers, who seem to share the sentiment that I was faking one of the most difficult moments of my life.”
Johanna said her anxiety disorder tends to hit her when she is singing, “the one thing I love more than anything on the planet”.
“In this one area, I am a complete and utter trainwreck. A combination of wanting it more badly than anything I’ve ever wanted and being rejected or let down in countless ways on two continents has led to my current basket case state,” she wrote.
“It is why I haven’t posted anything in years. It’s why I haven’t recorded anything in years. It’s why I barely ever sing anymore. There are no words to describe the level of extreme anxiety I experience whenever I attempt to sing in public again, most especially in a competitive capacity. It manifests in a horribly physical way, causing me several consecutive nights of insomnia, giving me some of the worst IBS episodes, and the most painful GERD flareups (GERD is chronic acid reflux disease). All this affects not only my health, but it negatively impacts my voice, as anyone can imagine.”
She said she wrote her post for the sake of others who have to live with the physical side effects of severe anxiety on a daily basis.
“This is why I’m writing this post. Because I know I’m not alone in having severe anxiety and having to live with all its physical side effects everyday, like insomnia, IBS, and GERD (yes, even when I’m not visibly anxious, the physical aspects never take a break – that part is daily, even at home…they’re just more manageable than during an episode).”
“Because I know I’m not alone in the pain of being accused of faking a mental illness, or of exaggerating its severity. Because I know I’m not alone in the agony that accusation brings. Because I know that for all my fellow sufferers, I have the duty to speak out.”