Celebrities share their stories of anxiety
They smile up at you from glossy pages in the hair salon, you spend a day’s pay just to watch their latest blockbuster, and every second story on your newsfeed is You Would Not Believe It–style clickbait about them.
Celebrities. It’s easy to think they’re modern day gods: not a hair (or emotion) out of place. You might have rolled your eyes at the idea 'they’re just like us’ just because they've been papped doing their own shopping. To some, the idea that they have any internal struggles seems far-fetched. But anxiety doesn't discriminate; it can impact people who seem like they're living a dream life. That goes for everyone from your perfectly poised yoga instructor to your favourite A-lister.
Here are a few big names who have talked openly about their experiences with anxiety:
The fast-talking, wise-cracking super-x-rated-hero Deadpool, played by Ryan Reynolds, helps the actor enter a comfort zone for media interviews. Reynolds has acknowledged a lifelong struggle with anxiety and says that conducting interviews in character helps him get through them. He also recommends meditation app Headspace.
You may know her best as the child star of Matilda and Mrs Doubtfire, but issues with anxiety have dogged Mara Wilson’s adult life. Acceptance and understanding helped her cope with it: “I’ll always have those problems, at least, sort of on the periphery, but I know about them now, and I can recognise them in myself. I think that’s the most important thing, recognising: This thing that I’m feeling right now isn’t right, isn’t true; it’s a part of my disorder, and it’s unhealthy,”
It’s hard to imagine wholesome heart-throb Captain America experiencing even a jot of self-doubt, but actor Chris Evans has spoken about what he calls his “brain noise”. His simple advice is to ‘shhh’ because mental noise probably doesn’t offer much help: “The problem is, I think, in most of our lives, the root of suffering is following that brain noise and listening to that brain noise and actually identifying with it as if it’s who you are,” he says.
Actress Kristen Bell used Instagram Stories to do a Q&A with her fans, and one asked about her tips for coping with anxiety. Among other things, she suggests Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, spending time outside, naming 10 things she loves for every one thing she doesn’t, and doing something nice for a friend.
Closer to home, ex-The Edge radio co-host Jay-Jay Feeney spoke openly about her experiences with depression, despite admitting that many people hide it, “because they feel they will be judged”. Hesitating to give out advice, she simply says: "A lot of us go through it. You just have to take a break and think about how you can manage the triggers."
They may have a lot that we don’t, but they also have a lot of the same things we do, including anxious thoughts and self-doubt. You are not at all alone. Take care.