EastEnders star Rita Simons admits she has struggled to cope with bringing up her twin daughters after suffering from panic attacks since they were born.

The panic attacks started when her twin daughters, Jaimee and Maiya, who is deaf, were born five years ago.

The star told The Mirror that she has to wear headphones when shopping just to ‘block everything out’ and in the past has suffered from attacks on the set of the BBC1 soap.

She admits: “I walked off set a couple of times and had to have strict word with myself.”

Rita admitted in a magazine interview: “When Theo [her husband] and I had our first night out after the kids were born, we were having a subdued dinner with friends and suddenly I couldn’t breathe.

“My heart was in my mouth and I was sweating and shaking.”

Rita admits she ‘didn’t tell anyone because you feel stupid and weak, like you are going insane’.

Rita has been working with a doctor to help her cope with further attacks, and admitted: “I was having attacks almost every day and living in fear of having them the rest of the time.”

“I felt sick all the time and had shakes all the time. And then I’d go back into full-on panic. When it happened again and again I realised I had a problem and I had to get help.”