The 34-year-old singer was first paralysed by fear when he was due to perform on a TV show and he couldn’t remember his lyrics and was struggling to breathe.
He recalled: “My heart was pounding and I couldn’t breathe. I’m standing behind the mic and I’m talking trying to calm myself down, thinking: ‘What’s going on? I’ve never ever been like this’. It was genuine panic.
“I was looking at my mum and dad in the audience and trying to focus, despite the fact I’d just forgotten my lyrics. It was just a routine performance but I didn’t know what was going on.”
The ‘Dance With me Tonight’ singer also had another feeling of “sudden, overwhelming panic” when he received the happy news he’d landed a job as a coach on ‘The Voice’.
He said: “I’ll never forget, I was driving back from Braintree to Witham, in Essex, just waiting for a call from my management to say if I’d got ‘The Voice’.
“As soon as they told me I’d got it, my friend with me was so excited for me. He was like: ‘You’re doing ‘The Voice’. This is huge.’
“I was like, ‘Yeah, it is.’ Then I just had this sudden, overwhelming panic. Whether it was anxiety or depression, I was like: ‘I don’t think I can do this.’ ”
Olly realised he needed help and through the therapy sessions traced his deep-rooted fears to the criticism he’d received when he and Caroline Flack co-hosted ‘The X Factor’ – the talent show on which he shot to fame almost 10 years ago – in 2015.
He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “I tried to piece it together myself but I couldn’t. It made me feel down and I said, ‘I need to go and see someone about this’…
“[The anxiety came from] the idea of going on TV again, maybe making a mistake and being put in the spotlight again with people saying negative things about me.
“I’ve only ever had a career that’s been so positive. And when you get that little bit of negativity, it hurts.”
Thankfully, the ‘Troublemaker’ hitmaker found meeting the therapist very helpful and has urged other men to speak up if they are facing similar problems with anxiety.
He said: “Men are too scared to talk about their mental health but I’m not.
“I’m happy to talk about it, because for me it’s not an issue… I feel great now and if I ever get in that position again or feel like that, I can walk away.”