4 Famous People You Might not Know Have Anxiety
Private jets, personal assistants and plenty of perks – sometimes celebrities seem to have it made in the shade. However, famous people aren’t immune to mental health conditions, like anxiety disorders, which people from all walks of life may face.
You might be surprised to know, in fact, that some of the most well-known names on the planet regularly deal with anxiety. Some have chosen to speak up about their challenges, hoping they can help break down stigmas surrounding mental illness.
Anxiety does not discriminate
“Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults (19.1% of the population) age 18 and older every year,” according to ADAA, the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. “Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.”
Anxiety can affect men and women, young and old – even people who, from a distance, seem to have it all. Here are four celebrities you might not know are dealing with anxiety and related mental illnesses.
Actress Kristen Bell is known for often having a smile on her face, but she says she has challenging days, too. She doesn’t feel shame in seeking help or talking about it, she tells Off Camera with Sam Jones.
“I mean, I present that very cheery bubbly person, but I also do a lot of work, I do a lot of introspective work and I check in with myself when I need to exercise, and I, you know, got on a prescription when I was really young to help with my anxiety and depression and I still take it today,” she says.
“And I have no shame in that because my mom had said if you start to feel this way, talk to your doctor, talk to a psychologist, see how you want to help yourself. And if you do decide to go on a prescription to help yourself, understand that the world wants to shame you for that, but in the medical community, you would never deny a diabetic his insulin.”
Talking to a healthcare provider like a doctor or psychologist is often the first step in diagnosing and treating potential anxiety disorders. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “there are several types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- Separation anxiety
Other mental health conditions share features with anxiety disorders. These include post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.”
As Kristen Bell experienced, medication is often prescribed in treating anxiety.
“Researchers have made a lot of progress in the last few decades in treating mental health conditions. Your healthcare provider will tailor a treatment plan that works for you. Your plan may combine medication and psychotherapy,” according to the Cleveland Clinic website.
Several members of the British royal family have been working to bring more awareness to the importance of mental health, including talking about their own quiet struggles. In a TV interview described in the Daily Beast, Prince Harry discussed his experience with panic attacks:
“In my case, every single time I was in any room with loads of people, which is quite often, I was just pouring with sweat, my heart beating – boom, boom, boom, boom – literally, just like a washing machine,” he said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, get me out of here now. Oh, hang on, I can’t get out of here, I have got to just hide it.’”
“If you have a panic disorder, you get intense, sudden panic attacks. These attacks often feature stronger, more intense feelings than other types of anxiety disorders,” according to the Cleveland Clinic website. “The feelings of terror may start suddenly and unexpectedly or they may come from a trigger, like facing a situation you dread,” according to the website.
Prince Harry says it wasn’t until he served in Afghanistan that he sought professional mental health treatment.
Singer, rapper and songwriter Lizzo has experienced challenges with anxiety and depression both before and after stepping into the spotlight.
“People become famous, and it’s like – my DNA didn’t change. Nothing changed about me. My anxiety didn’t go away. My depression didn’t go away. The things that I love didn’t go away. I’m still myself,” she tells Variety. She says she takes care of herself in part by talking to a mental health professional.
As Lizzo has experienced, anxiety and depression may often go hand-in-hand. According to the ADAA, “It’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.”
Mega-movie star Ryan Reynolds, who has experienced anxiety for most of his life, says it was important for him to speak publicly about mental health as well.
“Part of that is to destigmatize things and create a conversation around [mental health],” Reynolds was noted as saying in People. “So I think when people talk about it, I don’t necessarily dwell on it or lament on it, but I think it’s important to talk about it. And when you talk about it, it kind of sets other people free.”
“When I would go out on, like, Letterman, back in the day, I was nervous. But I remember I’d be standing backstage before the curtain would open, and I would think to myself, ‘I’m gonna die. I’m literally gonna die here. The curtain’s gonna open and I’m just gonna be, I’m just gonna be a symphony of vomit,’ just, like, something horrible’s gonna happen!” he said.
“But as soon as that curtain opens — and this happens in my work a lot too — it’s like this little guy takes over. And he’s like, ‘I got this. You’re cool.’ I feel, like, my heart rate drop, and my breathing calm, and I just sort of go out and I’m this different person. And I leave that interview going, ‘God, I’d love to be that guy!’”
Talking about anxiety
Anyone can experience anxiety. If you or a loved one think you might have an anxiety disorder, help is out there. You can talk about it. Seek out your doctor or a qualified mental health professional so you, like these celebrities, can get help with your anxiety.
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