By Molly Rose

A woman who was challenged to spend five days in solitary confinement began hallucinating after enduring 72 hours alone.

Sarah Doherty, 36, a single mother, was locked in a Portakabin that allowed no contact with the outside world, after choosing to take part in the experiment so she could have some "alone time", according to Daily Mail.

Less than three days into the challenge Doherty started displaying the physical symptoms of anxiety and vomited in the sink. She later began seeing things, and eventually started talking to herself, using her hands for company.

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The single mum felt very on edge as she jolted every time she thought she heard something in the completely silent cabin. Photo / Channel 5
The single mum felt very on edge as she jolted every time she thought she heard something in the completely silent cabin. Photo / Channel 5

Doherty was appearing on Channel 5's In Solitary TV show, which explored how people cope without their phone, internet, or any social interaction whatsoever.

She was one of only three participants who managed to endure the full five days in solitary, and viewers watched as she ran out of her cabin to rejoin the outside world when the experiment ended.

Before going in Doherty said she was using the experiment to "focus on herself" more, after devoting her life to raising her son Lucas, 8, on her own.

She said: "It's giving me the opportunity to focus on myself a little bit more and to reconnect. More specifically to find out if I am as strong a person as I believe I am. I would like to experience solitary confinement for that reason."

Despite her positive approach, Doherty admitted she felt anxious as soon as stepped into the cabin and had to work out how to handle the experience.

She explained: "If I think back to when I first stepped into the pod, all I can remember is being anxious and having to pretend not to be anxious. I felt caged so I was very quickly having to think 'How can I cope with this? What are my strategies'?"

Doherty began to feel like she was in a "horror movie" with somebody trying to break into the cabin, and she worried she had nothing to defend herself with except for a camping bowl.

She began pacing the room and then started to feel anxious, which saw her run to the sink to vomit.

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After being sick she said felt much better, but woke feeling unwell again the next morning.

Doherty was brushing her teeth at the sink before she began seeing strange things in the basin that she pointed out to the camera.

She said: "What I can see here is like a dog's face; to me here is the tail, there is a discolouration in the sink that looks like an eyeball to me and then an ear. The shape is up at the top."

The physical symptoms of anxiety hit Sarah hard and she threw up in the sink after panicking about her situation. Photo / Channel 5
The physical symptoms of anxiety hit Sarah hard and she threw up in the sink after panicking about her situation. Photo / Channel 5

Doherty then climbed into bed and began speaking about her emotions, saying she felt "nothingness" inside the cabin.

"I'm just gonna give in now to the quiet nothingness. I'm just gonna go there. I'm slipping away," she said.

The show's psychologist Pauline Rennie-Peyton and its team of mental health experts grew concerned about Doherty's behaviour.

Rennie-Payton said: "I don't think she's hallucinating, I think she's lonely."

As Doherty sat on the bed she looked startled by every sound she thought she could hear in the silent cabin, and admitted that she felt defenceless.

She began talking to herself and acting out conversations on her hands with people who weren't in the room.

Despite struggling to cope Doherty managed to last the full-length of the experiment, being one of only three of the five participants to do so.

Another contestant, Charmayne, lasted less than five hours inside the cabin after she became emotional missing her husband and her son.

Presenter George Lamb was also part of the experiment and lasted just 23 hours as his boredom turned to anger and he demanded to leave.

The other two who lasted the length of the competition were Lucy and Lloyd, who welcomed detoxes from social media and their phones.