Grace Dent has broken her social media silence following her appearance and early exit from this year's series of I'm a Celebrity, admitting that she is "overwhelmingly sad" and is "planning to recover".

Taking to social media on Thursday morning three days after her sudden departure from the show on medical grounds, the food critic thanked friends for the support as she vowed that she was "determined to keep alive the huge breakthroughs [she] made over the weeks". She added that that she hadn't gone out as planned or how she had wanted.

She wrote: "Dear friends. Thank you for the outpouring of love I’ve received since I was removed on Monday. I am overwhelmingly sad right now, but determined to keep alive in my heart the huge personal breakthroughs I made over the weeks. I spent 15 days without a phone or any contact with loved ones, living much of the time outdoors in a rain forest in very wet weather. It gave me a short, sharp glimpse into the pain some folk worldwide endure. Normal life, forever, will always feel beautiful.

"Until now, I had no idea I could find a mental space where I could calmly climb down the side of a sky scraper and then slide out on a pole, unlocking stars,as the cars below on the street felt the size of ants. I had no idea it was possible to be shown an American football helmet and be informed I was shortly to be locked in at the neck and filled to the eyebrows with cockroaches, and for me to think ‘OK this is doable, the trick is to breathe’.

"For as long as I live, I shall never forget the cockroach that entered my ear canal and the sound of its little feet creeping closer down to my brain. It took us two goes to lure him out. Sat on the grass behind the ‘Scarena’ he finally washed up.

"The jungle showed me how quickly I could become blasé about sleeping with hungry rats, noisy toads, moths and Huntsman spiders. It taught me that when you have to sleep close to the enemy the trick is to stay calm, have empathy and that screaming achieves nothing but wasted calories.

"The jungle showed me that I am physically stronger than I thought; I can carry a lot of logs and water up hill, build fire and eat hare innards at dawn for breakfast. I hope I gave you all a smile. I didn’t go out as I planned or I wanted, but I did what I could, and I did it in a siren red gel manicure without chipping a nail. I didn’t cry when I took off my bra to find a family of mealworms living in the right cup. At some level, this *must* be an achievement.

"My plan is to recover…and when the adrenaline finally ebbs away, to make some serious plans for dinner. Three courses, extra potatoes, definitely pudding. I think I deserve it. I love you all and miss my jungle crew. Miss Grace Dent xxx."

The MasterChef star, 50, was pictured at Brisbane Airport hours after ITV announced on Monday morning that she was exiting the reality show early. During that night's update from the jungle, viewers watched as Grace's message to her fellow campers was revealed.

Hollyoaks actor Nick Pickard was the one to read out the letter from Grace on Monday night's instalment of I'm A Celebrity. "My dear campmates, I’m so sorry to let you down. I have left the camp for medical reasons," Grace's emotional letter to the celebrity camp began.

"My heart is broken, I have loved and enjoyed getting to know you all. You’ve held me up and it’s been a pleasure being your friend through this experience. Leaving you all at this stage will be one of the saddest things in my life. I love you all. Your friend, Miss Grace Dent."

Earlier on, presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly addressed Grace's exit as they opened the show. "Sadly Grace Dent has left the camp for medical reasons but she’s doing fine and we all send her our best," Ant told viewers before catching up with the star-studded camp.

ITV confirmed Grace's departure from camp on Monday morning. A spokesperson for the broadcaster said in a statement: "Unfortunately Grace Dent has left the show on medical grounds. She has been a great campmate and will be missed by her fellow celebrities and viewers alike."

Grace was then spotted Brisbane Airport hours after her exit was confirmed by ITV as a source told the Mirror: "She is heading back to London today. She is tired and she just wants to get home." The star looked glum as she made her way into departures, flanked by security from the show. Grace had been picked to do the latest trial Down The Tubes but barely reacted and stayed mute the entire time hosts Ant and Dec were in camp.

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