Anxiety is something that always manages to find a way to torment most of us, some less and some more. Especially in a society where we are always on the run, hopping from one place to another so we can keep up with the intensive requirements of our everyday lives, anxiety can get the best of us. Now imagine that you are a celebrity who has a million pairs of eyes on them- every issue seems to be on a larger scale.
In order to counter the negative emotions brought along by our lifestyles, we need to create a more accepting culture that sheds light into these issues and removes the stigma that is often associated with them. Battling with anxiety, as the celebrities below show us, isn’t something to be ashamed about. Similarly, visiting a clinic shouldn’t be frowned upon.
We are kicking off the list with a strong entry from Ariana Grande, an incredible singer who has had to go through an incredibly harsh ordeal recently that has left her and many others hurting. Back on 22 May 2017, the singer was performing at her concert in the Manchester Arena, when a terrorist set off a bomb that resulted in the death of 22 innocents and the physical and mental scarring of many others. The event that took place right after Ariana was done performing caused her lasting trauma, understandably so.
In an interview with Elle magazine, she described her experiences following the attack and how she tried to heal. She said, “When I got home from tour, I had really wild dizzy spells, this feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I would be in a good mood, fine and happy, and they would hit me out of nowhere.” To combat this and move on, she knew that she had to revisit the place of her nightmares and conquer it. Being the generous person that she is, she managed to pair her overcoming of her trauma with charity.
On the fourth of June 2017, the One Love Manchester charity concert took place, organized in part by Grande herself, only 2 weeks after the bombing. There, 55,000 fans enjoyed a concert by many different artists to stand in solidarity with the victims’ families. Ariana Grande managed to overcome this traumatic experience and returned back to performing so she can give back to those who suffered.
It has been four years since the attack, and the singer has posted this on Instagram: although grief is ever-present and our relationship to it is evolving and expressing itself in different ways every day year round, i know that this anniversary will never be an easy one… please know that i am thinking of u all today.”
You may think that an elite level athlete who cruises through the waves of water like they’re nothing, would cruise through the waves of life just as easily, but Michael Phelps reminds us that we are all still human, no matter what our achievements are.
He explained how many Olympic athletes experience a sort of “crash” that heavily affects their spirits after the competition is over. Phelps, in particular, fell into a 4 day long depression episode after the London Games that ruined his sleep, appetite, and will to live.
To combat these self-destructive thoughts and urges, he admits that he had to enlist the help of professionals trained in anxiety therapy. In an interview with CBS, he said, “I understand it’s ok to not be ok, and the things that I’m going through make me a human being. There are people out there who are struggling with the same exact thing I am.”
Another celebrity who has battled with anxiety is actor Emma Stone. The star has been affected by it from a very young age- ever since she was five. She recalls having episodes that would send her to the school’s nurse as a young student because they overwhelmed her, an experience she shared on an Advertising Week 2018 panel in New York. Stone, who was diagnosed by a therapist with generalized anxiety and panic disorder, has been an advocate for the normalization of opening up and talking about issues that plague you for a long time.
Acting and improv have been strong allies for Stone in her battle against mental health problems. She has said this in the past regarding the subject: “With improv, I learned I could take all of these big feelings and really listen in the moment and use all of my associative brain that still wakes me up in the middle of the night and the thing that still haunts me to this day to be useful to my job.”
Although she has used her demons as an outlet for creating things, she believes that the fact she was kept in the dark about her diagnosis at the depression clinic was a benefit for her, as many people in her profession bottle up their feelings and don’t speak about such things. It would be a great improvement if this could change, and people learned to communicate more.
Anxiety disorders are so common that they even affect the seemingly perfect Deadpool actor, who oozes charisma and confidence in his role as the larger-than-life red maniac. Reynolds has revealed before how he has always battled with the condition.
To the successful star, a lot of his problems seem to have originated from his childhood. In the past, he told Variety this: “I have three older brothers,” he said. “Our father was tough. He wasn’t easy on anyone. And he wasn’t easy on himself. I think the anxiety might have started there, trying to find ways to control others by trying to control myself. At the time, I never recognized that. I was just a twitchy kid.”
We are witnessing an increasing number of male celebrities come out and talk about their battles with mental health problems every day, and this can be accredited, in part, to people like Reynolds and Phelps who take the first step in speaking out about men’s mental health issues.