Ariana Madix Says Her Anxiety Was 'So Bad' After Scandoval Broke: 'It Felt Like Rock Bottom' (Exclusive)
"I've gone through other stuff before on the show but nothing like this at all," the Vanderpump Rules star exclusively tells PEOPLE
Ariana Madix felt a range of emotions after learning Tom Sandoval, her boyfriend of nine years, was in a months-long affair with Raquel Leviss, one of her best friends — but one feeling dominated the others.
"My anxiety at first was through the roof," the Vanderpump Rules star, 37, recalls to PEOPLE in an exclusive chat while promoting her new partnership with BIC EasyRinse razors. "Those first few weeks ... just the stomach ache, not being able to fall asleep, not eating and feeling sick even at the idea of wanting to eat. It was really so bad."
Madix has been candid about her mental health issues before, discussing her struggles with depression, suicidal thoughts and what she's described working through a "full-blown eating disorder" when she joined the show in 2013.
Related:Ariana Madix Says She Won't Film Again with Tom Sandoval or Raquel Leviss on Vanderpump Rules: 'Good Luck'
She tells PEOPLE that learning of the cheating scandal between now-ex and their Bravo costar back in March as her lowest point.
"It felt like rock bottom," says Madix. "I've gone through other stuff before on the show but nothing like this at all. But there's nowhere else to go from rock bottom except up. So honestly, realizing that really helped me come out of that."
Related:Ariana Madix Calls Tom Sandoval 'Laughable' and Says Forgiving Him and Raquel Leviss Is 'Not Happening'
Leaning on her friends and family helped too, Madix says.
"I really have the best friends and the best support system that anybody in the world could ever, ever ask for,' she notes. "The way that they showed up for me in the weeks after this all happened, was nothing short of absolutely incredible. There was a spreadsheet that my friend Meredith made to make sure that I was taken care of and that I was upright because first few weeks there, I really was not. So she was planning, 'Who's going to be with me? Who's staying the night? Have I eaten? Have I slept?' — stuff like that."
She continues, "And then there was a group text called the Madix Support Team, where all these people were checking in on me constantly. And some of them were friends of mine from different worlds who became friends with one another and are now really close. I just love that. The community around me is unmatched."
Related:Ariana Madix Is 'So Strong' After Tom Sandoval Split: 'She Just Has This Crazy Sense of Empowerment'
The love from fans, who have universally surrounded Madix with praise, has also not gone unnoticed by Madix.
"Going through this in the public eye has definitely added an aspect that makes it an additionally insane experience," she says. "But the support from the public has been really amazing and has meant the absolute world to me."
Though Madix tells PEOPLE still she's not 100% right now, she does say she's "feeling relief" in her life right now.
"It's been a process to get there, and I know it's not been very long, but it certainly feel like I'm coming out the other side and the trajectory is up," says Madix. "Where I'm at right now, honestly — I'm at a point now where I just feel like I'm amazing. And I don't think I ever thought that was possible."
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Her partnership with BIC EasyRinse razors comes at "exactly the right time," the product's patented unclogging technology not only resulting in a smoother shave with less irritation, but also giving Madix a perfect metaphor for her life right now.
"It's time for me to get free and unclogged," Madix says. "With so many exciting thing going on in my life, the last thing I want to do is be standing in my shower, banging my razor against the wall, wasting water trying to unclog. So in addition to unclogging my life, I'm also unclogging my razor with Bic. It's very exciting."
If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.
If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to NationalEatingDisorders.org.
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