Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - KATIE BEL­LIS Re­porter katie.bel­[email protected]­

HE WAS the bub­bly and joy­ful Welsh­man who came run­ner-up in the fi­nal se­ries of Big Brother. And be­fore the show, Akeem Grif­fiths from Tre­orchy in Rhondda was trav­el­ling the world as a cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing con­sul­tant.

But since leav­ing the house in Novem­ber, the 26-year-old says his life has changed dras­ti­cally.

Akeem says he now strug­gles to leave the house and he has turned down see­ing his friends and fam­ily on sev­eral oc­ca­sions.

He says that he is now a dif­fer­ent per­son from who he was be­fore the show.

The 26-year-old wants to share his story in the hope of rais­ing aware­ness to any­one who is think­ing about tak­ing part in re­al­ity tele­vi­sion. “I was in the house for a to­tal of 53 days. “Since leav­ing the house, I have strug­gled to leave my own house. I have de­clined see­ing my friends and fam­ily. It al­most feels nat­u­ral to stay be­hind closed doors.

“You just don’t ex­pect to feel this way. I think be­cause I was locked up for 24 hours it al­most feels nat­u­ral now to stay be­hind closed doors,” he said.

Akeem has said that it’s hard to ex­plain how he feels.

He added: “I have been out around five times in the last eight weeks and that was only be­cause of char­ity events.

“It’s not de­pres­sion, but be­ing in­side the house has had a psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect on me.

“I never thought this would hap­pen, my mind­set on life has changed. My fam­ily and friends have no­ticed that I am not the per­son who I was.

“Peo­ple go through this, but they don’t speak up. I am not blam­ing the show, and there is help now it has ended, there is some­one there 24 hours a day for you to con­tact.

“The thought of go­ing out­side just makes me feel ner­vous, I have this aw­ful build up of nerves in­side. In the long term I know it’s go­ing to get worse.

“Peo­ple know me as the fun and bub­bly Akeem from the show, now I am quiet and I hardly com­mu­ni­cate.”

The 26-year-old does a lot of his work from home since leav­ing the Chan­nel 5 show.

“I do a lot of brand­ing work now and so­cial me­dia work which can be done from home. I am signed up to a mod­el­ling agency but I haven’t met up with them yet. I am sup­posed to travel to Lon­don in the new year but I don’t know what I am go­ing to do at the mo­ment.

“The door is open to re­turn to my pre­vi­ous job as a train­ing con­sul­tant but again I don’t know if I feel up to it any­more,” he ex­plained.

Akeem said that any­one who is think­ing about go­ing down the path of re­al­ity tele­vi­sion should think about it prop­erly first.

“I think it sends a strong mes­sage out to peo­ple that be­ing on re­al­ity tele­vi­sion can have se­ri­ous ef­fects, and it isn’t al­ways a fairy tale end­ing.

“I am not say­ing don’t ap­ply for a re­al­ity TV show, as it is a great op­por­tu­nity, but be­fore you do just make sure you un­der­stand ev­ery­thing and the ef­fects it could have on you be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter.

“I still keep in touch with the ma­jor­ity of the con­tes­tants from the show, we are all in a group chat and we talk reg­u­larly, but they don’t know about the way I am feel­ing.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to open up, but bot­tling ev­ery­thing up is not good, I think now is the right time to speak out about this.

“I feel like I will be able to stop feel­ing like this, it won’t be soon, but even­tu­ally I hope I will.

“Sur­round­ing your­self with close fam­ily and friends is key,” he added.


Big Brother house­mate Akeem Grif­fiths

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