“My memories clouded by years of anti-panic drugs” – Corriere.it

“My memories clouded by years of anti-panic drugs” – Corriere.it
“My memories clouded by years of anti-panic drugs” – Corriere.it
from Roberta Scorranese

The TV host: I like working with other women


aola Perego, what does it mean to build a solid television career like yours by fighting panic attacks?

«An effort. Because television is a constant confrontation with someone who watches you, sometimes judges you, certainly notices every detail. I have always been aware of it and perhaps for this reason, today, I consider myself a lucky woman ».

She said she suffered from it from the age of sixteen, practically since she started her journey on TV. He wrote it in a book, “Behind the Scenes of My Fears.” But how did he hide it for so long?

“Because for years people have seen a person who appears to be lively, ironic. But I was in a bubble. I was taking some medicines and I’m not talking about those prescribed today, which are much lighter. I’m talking about medicines which, in order to remove the feeling of panic, smoothed everything out. They planed everything, including emotions. For example, I couldn’t even cry anymore. Many of my memories are blurred, like inside a cloud. Including my marriage with Andrea (Carnival, ed). Critics said I was too cold and aloof, but today I can tell: I was taking benzodiazepines. “

Who has never tried it can’t understand, right?

“No he can not. Because the symptoms, from cold sweats to swollen tongue to body tingling are only part of the panic attack. The hardest thing to explain is the feeling of being one step away from death. I was sixteen when I tried it for the first time and before I began the healing process, with the analysis, I experienced it many times ».

After her beginnings as a model, she immediately started with television. Was there a time when you risked not going on the air?

“Yes, I remember it well. I was pregnant with Giulia, my first daughter, and I was conducting a program on Tmc, entitled When there is health. Pregnancy prevented me from taking too many medicines and one night, before the live show, I didn’t sleep a wink. The next day I asked a dear friend of mine, Patrizia, to come up with an excuse for me because I was sure I wouldn’t be able to go on the air. She had an idea: she called the psychiatrist who followed me, convinced her to cancel all the commitments, to place herself in my dressing room and to assist me at every break. So I went on the air ».

How did it come out?

“With three different pathways of behavioral psychology treatments”.

More than ten years of analysis?

“Yes, over ten years. I learned a lot. First of all, fragility is neither a fault nor something to hide. And I was wrong, because I hid it from my children for so long. I should have shown myself for what I am, but those were other times: if you went to the doctor and listed the symptoms, he almost certainly said you had a nervous breakdown. And so I hid, disguised, seduced. I hid the medicines in the dressing room, no one was supposed to know that at any moment I could collapse ».

Paola, the milestone of forty years of career is approaching, in 2022.

«Yes, I started as a model at sixteen, in 1982. And looking back I see that I have done many very different things. I was the first woman to do infotainment, among the first to deal with sports on TV. I have worked with television “giants”, I only mention two names: Sandra Mondaini and Raimondo Vianello ».

Did you also see a bickering?

“Yup! Once they took me for a “break” ad Beware of us two. Raimondo said to me: “But are you sure you have attended compulsory school?”. And Sandra said, “Look, it could be your niece.” They were wonderful: kind, respectful, always ready to joke but professional ».

But for a very beautiful young woman it must not always have been easy, right?

“No. Once, in Mediaset, an executive started chasing me around a table. Another time, when my contract expired, another asked me to go to dinner. I said no and in the end I got that contract, yes, but by dint of long and humiliating antechambers ».

After a (very unfortunate) episode of «Let’s talk about … Saturday» on RaiUno, in 2017, in which Italian and «Eastern» women were compared, she was accused of sexism. His column in “Live Life” was closed amid controversy.

“I think those were the worst days of my professional life by far. For weeks I didn’t leave home and not just because my face was in all the newspapers and on television, but because I didn’t know how to say it wasn’t, that I’m not a sexist or even a racist. First of all, that was part of an episode already aired by
Life live
. And then those who accused me the hardest admitted that they didn’t see the episode! I have reviewed that column several times: I have defended women as I always do ».

Just a bad television page?

“Yes, because supporting other women has always been a cornerstone for me. For example, whoever wanted Mara Venier a
The farm
, at a time when she was working less? The. TO The mole I wanted Paola Barale as a correspondent. Those who know me know well that I do not miss an opportunity to enhance the other female figures ».

But the persistent malice on his account concerns something else. And that is to be the wife of Lucio Presta, one of the most powerful showmen, the agent of the “big” in Italy.

“Look, my husband did six Sanremo Festivals: have I ever hosted the most important show in the country? No. Let’s say that if I were recommended I would have chosen roles a little more prominent, right? Also because he, precisely because I am his wife, tends not to give me important parts, but every time he prefers someone else or someone else. The other day I told him: “Listen, but since for everyone I am the recommended one par excellence, at this point you really recommend me”. He started laughing ».

Does that mean that being your wife has penalized you?

“If I say it, people don’t believe it.”

How long have your been together?

“He met me when I was thirty. And since then she often tells me: “I can’t wait for you to get old so you’ll be mine alone”. Well, we’re there now! ‘

A very solid bond?

“I expect to grow old with him. He is an extraordinary person, very different from what he appears on the surface. Do you know that every morning of every holy day you bring me breakfast in bed? ‘

And does he leave any notes around the house?

«No, but he writes beautiful letters, full of love. It is of great moral correctness ».

When you met, she was in the thick of the fight against panic attacks.

«Yes and Lucio was very important in this battle. He understood me, he gave me valuable advice. Today we are a large extended family: my two children, her two and two grandchildren, with another one on the way, because my daughter Giulia is pregnant again. Today, also thanks to Lucio, I see things with greater detachment. Do you think when I did Have a nice Sunday and I went live all day, often in the evening I went home, I looked in the mirror and I didn’t know who I was anymore. Because on television the big risk is to get confused with your character. There are people who remain trapped in this web forever and suffer when the two identities are forcibly separated ».

Paola, allow me to insist: how did you manage, suffering from panic attacks, to withstand the pressure of the fierce rules, dictated by competition, that are in force on television?

«I’m saying something that I really think: all those who make television, in my opinion, should be psychoanalyzed. Because the mechanism is this: people at home think that those who make TV are immune from pain, pain, anxiety, evil. You stand alone against millions of people watching you. And that give you the image of a character who belongs to you but who is not you. And then you ask yourself: who am I? It happens to many to have the feeling of not existing when away from the camera. I, also thanks to the path taken to combat panic attacks, am now out of this mechanism. Fortunately. Now I am able to be alone, whereas in the past I used to pay the holidays to people who are not so friendly but who I wanted next to me only because the idea of ​​being alone terrified me. Now I enjoy my home, my nephew, my family. I say it: I am living a second youth ».

Now she, on Sunday, is teamed up with Simona Ventura at the conduction of «Citofonare Rai 2». Do you get along?

“Perfectly. Simona was among the very few people who, when they accused me of sexism and discrimination, exposed herself publicly with a tweet in my defense. Many pretended nothing happened, many sent me private messages saying that yes, they supported me, but they didn’t think they had to do it publicly. Simona instead defended me and took the risks. I invited her to dinner, we talked for a long time, perhaps the show was born from those chats. We not only get along well but we have made many people lose a lot of bets ».

Meaning what?

“At first, they wagered that after a month we would have a fight. By virtue of a prejudice – yes, sexist -: that two women cannot work together without arguing. Simona and I are the living denial ».

What is a television project that you would like to do?

“A docuserie about transgender people. I believe that little is said about them, about the difficulties they go through. It is a world that I would like to explore ».

And what kind of grandmother is Paola Perego?

«Without scruples: I brainwash Pietro and I convince him that he has only one grandmother, that is me. He alone fills my days ».

December 9, 2021 (change December 9, 2021 | 07:38 am)


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