I'm a Celebrity fans inspired by Anne Hegerty and Rita Simons's poignant discussion about autism and OCD
I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! aired poignant scenes on Monday (November 19) as Anne Hegerty and Rita Simons opened up to each other about how they are coping in the jungle.
Viewers saw in Sunday’s series premiere that Anne was having second thoughts about venturing into the jungle after a rough first few hours in the meagre Snake Rock. However, she assured them the following morning that she was starting to “see [her] way ahead”.
The Chase star also felt comfortable enough with her fellow Snake Rock campmates to broach the subject for the first time since entering the jungle that she is on the autistic spectrum.
“It’s also an autistic thing when you’re trying to work out what to do,” she explained of her difficulty to adjust. “I have to line up the mirror neurones up in my head and go this, this, this… It doesn’t have to be the same all the time but I actually have to work it out beforehand.”
Anne later clarified that the other campers engaged her in a discussion about autism that made her feel comfortable, explaining in the Bush Telegraph: “I didn’t raise the autism issue… but if someone else raises it, I make it quite clear that I’m happy to talk about it.”
Back in camp, Rita Simons observed: “I know one of the characteristics of a lot of autistic people is not picking up on social cues. You don’t seem to have that. You don’t at all.”
“I hope I don’t,” she answered. “That’s something I worked on as a teenager. I was absolutely useless at it.”
“So, is it more a case of you’ve had to go, ‘I should feel like this, so I should act like this because that’s how I’m supposed to react like now’?” Rita asked.
Anne answered: “Yeah, I’m actually perfectly happy for the rest of you to be building the fire and boiling water, but then I just sort of think, ‘Come on Anne pull your weight’.”
Later in the Bush Telegraph, Anne shared that she’d been encouraged by the discussion: “I really appreciate how nice and sympathetic they’ve been to me and how supportive they are and it was nice that they said I actually pick up on social cues because I’m never quite sure that I actually do so that was nice to know.”
The conversation led onto the topic of OCD when Anne mentioned that people often are more understanding about “something like OCD” than autism.
“You know that I’m fully diagnosed OCD… I’m much better now,” Rita explained.
When Fleur East asked how Rita was able to cope living in the jungle with OCD, the soap star explained: “I’m not too bad with cleanliness and all of that. I don’t do any of the rituals anymore.
“I used to be a real light switcher, tap checker, I’d spend hours doing it. It’s almost the complete opposite of [Anne] because yours is all logical and mine is all illogical.”
Bringing the subject back to autism, Anne explained: “There are things, I mean if you saw my home you’d know there was something very wrong… An OCD person would not like my house. It’s just sort of I just get overwhelmed by all the things there are to do, I’m like, I have no idea.”
After the conversation, Fleur East seemed hopeful that Anne would feel more comfortable opening up to the other campmates from now on.
“I think we’ve made her feel really comfortable with it now,” she explained. “She’s just sharing a bit more, like every day we’re chipping away at that tough Governess exterior and we’re seeing that inside she is the sweetest, most humble, lovely woman.”
The discussion was one that viewers were very happy to see on primetime TV:
I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! continues on Tuesday (November 20) at 9pm on ITV, followed by Extra Camp at 10pm on ITV2.
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