This second in our series looking at celebrities who’ve opened up about their struggles with mental health. You can read the first article here. The aim of these posts isn’t to sensationalise or in any way ‘authority hack’ the status of these celebrities to gain attention. What we’re trying to do here is to help those of you out there who may be struggling with your mental health but haven’t entered into a space of giving yourself permission to ‘not be ok,’ and as a result not seek the help you need. The hope is that by pulling back the curtain on people’s lives who are so often idealised in the media and showing that even the most successful people can suffer from mental health issues and are willing to open up about it publicly, it will give you the permission to be more open and honest about your own needs. Here are 5 celebrities who have struggled with anxiety.
1. Selena Gomez
Back in 2018, Selena Gomez revealed her ongoing struggles with depression and anxiety and stated that her main focus for the year was get back on top of both issues. She was frank in her admission about the scale and size of her battle, saying, “I’ve had a lot of issues with depression and anxiety. and I’ve been very vocal about it.” She then went on to admit. “I think it’s a battle I’m gonna have to face for the rest of my life, and I’m ok with that because I know that I’m choosing myself over everything else.” Despite the perceived negative tone to Selena’s assessment of her circumstances, there is a great lesson to be taken here. And that’s the power of taking personal responsibility for yourself and taking positive action. Selena is also a huge advocate for Dialectal Behavioural Therapy (DBT), saying of it, “DBT has completely changed my life.”
2. Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga (real name: Stefani Germanotto), has been a significant figure in destigmatising the issue of being open about mental health. The singer has often spoken out about her own struggles and offered insight into issues such as: bulimia and anorexia, anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. On the importance of speaking out, she said, “I openly admit to having depression and anxiety and I think a lot of people do. I think it’s better we all fess up and say ‘cheers!’ And ‘fess up to it.’” She also goes on to say about finding your way out of the darkness, “”Depression doesn’t take away your talents—it just makes them harder to find. But I always find it. I learned that my sadness never destroyed what was great about me. You just have to go back to that greatness, find that one little light that’s left.”
3. Gina Rodriguez
Another telling account of just how indiscriminate anxiety can be is Gina Rodriguez’s admission that she had to take a step back from the production of Jane the Virgin. Gina revealed how her anxiety became so overwhelming that she had to stop production to give herself time to recover. Of the experience, she recounted, “there was a point where I couldn’t… push through every single time any more,” Gina also stated, ““It came to a point, this last season was the first season where I had to stop production. I had a really tumultuous season and I was unafraid for the first time to be like, ‘I can’t.’” What this illustrates is that even if you have a dream job such as acting, anxiety can still prevent you from doing the thing you love. Anxiety doesn’t favour those who’ve found their passion in life. It can still rear its head.
4. Kim Kardashian
The case of Kim Kardashian is slightly different from the ones above. But in some ways, it’s even more relatable being the result of events beyond our control, which can have long-standing effects on our mental and emotional health. After getting into a car crash back in 2015, Kim revealed to the press that she now gets anxious about getting into another car crash, even going as far as changing her regular route to avoid it happening. She said of this incident, “I think about it all the time. It drives me crazy.” She goes on to share. “I just want to get past my anxiety and live life. I never had anxiety, and I want to take back my life.” What Kim was displaying in this instance was a pattern of anxiety-anxious avoidance. It’s a very common symptom, which marks the early onset of anxiety and can affect anyone who’s experienced either a minor or major trauma from something such as a car crash all the way to assault.
5. Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynold’s story is a classic example of the juxtaposition between the characters he portrays in film and the way he carries himself in real life. He’s one of the last people you would suspect of having – and continuing to struggle with any type of mental health issue. But Ryan has opened up about the effect his childhood has had on life and dealing with a ”tough Dad.” He says of his early childhood, “This is not meant to be some sob story – everyone carries their own bag of rocks around, and I am no different in that regard – but growing up in my house, it was never relaxing or easy, and I know that, throughout my life, I’ve dealt with anxiety in different ways.” But then he also offers insight into the strategies he uses to cope with his anxiety, saying, “I’ll look for the joke in things so that I don’t look for the sadness and the grief,” and also speaks of the value of daily exercise, which helps him remain grounded.