Even though anxiety disorders affect 18 percent of adult Americans, making it the most common mental illness in the U.S., people with anxiety are often misunderstood and considered weak-willed or overdramatic. Most people with anxiety disorders don’t feel comfortable talking about their struggles with their families, let alone with strangers.
These 6 celebrities have demonstrated considerable courage by speaking about their anxiety disorders with the public. Increasing the visibility of these disorders is essential in showing people that anxiety is a disease – not a character flaw – that can affect anyone.
“I’ll start worrying about my parents or my dog, and I’ll picture him opening the window of my apartment and falling out, even though I can’t get that thing open myself.”
In 2010, Amanda Seyfried, an actress who has starred in films that include “Mean Girls,” “Mamma Mia” and “Les Miserables,” paused an interview so that she could take an antidepressant.
“Yeah, yeah,” she said. “I’m anxious.”
Seyfried formerly admitted in 2011 that she suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. She attends therapy and takes medication, both of which greatly improve her quality of life. She still gets nervous on occasion; dealing with anxiety is a lifetime commitment.
“I was just kind of immobilized by it. I didn’t want to go to my friends’ houses or hang out with anybody, and nobody really understood.”
Emma Stone, actress who has starred in movies that include “The Help” and “The Amazing Spider-Man,” told Vogue that she has had panic attacks ever since she was a child. Today she copes with her anxiety by channeling her feelings into either work or baking.
“I think I felt really out of control of my surroundings,” she said. “I was just baking all the time. It seemed like it made me feel, if I put these in, I’ll know what the outcome is.”
“I remember my makeup artist and assistant walking me to the set and going, ‘Oh God, we’re going to need 10 minutes to get him there because he has to walk back and step on that thing, touch the door and walk in and out again.’”
Leonardo DiCaprio, star of “The Great Gatsby” and “Titanic,” has been struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder for his entire life. He has trained himself to keep it under control, frequently fighting the urge to step on gum, dodge cracks or go through a doorway multiple times. When performing his role as the famous Howard Hughes in “The Aviator,” DiCaprio allowed his compulsions to flourish so that he could better portray the mentally ill billionaire.
“I had to repeat every sentence I said under my breath.”
Daniel Radcliffe, star of “Horns” and “Harry Potter,” first developed obsessive-compulsive disorder when he was only 5 years old. He recalls muttering words under his breath and taking five minutes to turn off a single light bulb. His symptoms have decreased since finding a therapist.
“I would encourage everyone to get a therapist,” he said. “It doesn’t mean you’re insane or weak.”
“I have to be incredibly tidy and organized or it messes with my mind and switches off on me.”
Actress Charlize Theron has starred in “Prometheus” and “Arrested Development”; she also has obsessive-compulsive disorder. Theron has described her obsessive-compulsive disorder as “not fun.” She explains that she has problems with cabinets being messy and often can’t sleep because she is worried that something is amiss inside her house.
“And so I – I just – I – that’s what stayed in mind. Because I’m a visualist. So if I see it, it lives in my brain. So I always see it.”
Whoopi Goldberg has an extreme fear of flying. Despite her frequent need to travel from one end of the country to the other, Goldberg is unable to fly on planes; she instead takes a bus, a journey that can last for nearly 24 hours. The phobia was instilled in her several decades ago when she witnessed a mid-air collision while standing on a balcony in San Diego. She recently conquered her phobia by enrolling in Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear program.
Sovereign Health Group has multiple mental health programs that are designed to help patients fight anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. These programs include yoga, meditation, music therapy, fitness and medication management. For further details, please contact 866-554-5504.
Written by Courtney Lopresti, Sovereign Health Group writer