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Ryan Reynolds Reveals His Lifelong Battle With Anxiety, Shares Intimate Details No One Expects From Man Like Him
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Ryan Reynolds Reveals His Lifelong Battle With Anxiety, Shares Intimate Details No One Expects From Man Like Him

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Ryan Reynolds has started a conversation around anxiety, after opening up about his personal battle with the condition in an interview with the New York Times.

“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” Reynolds told journalist Cara Buckley. “Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”

It was certainly an unexpected statement from a guy who seemingly has it all: a kickass acting career, a beautiful family, a wicked sense of humor and who is generally described as the coolest and most handsome man in Hollywood.

But anxiety does not care for status, and can affect anyone. Reynolds has struggled with it since childhood, partly as a result of his former police officer father, whom he referred to as “the stress dispensary in our house.” While Reynolds doesn’t look back on his childhood with any regrets, he loved his father dearly and named his daughter James in honor of him, being overly cautious not to cause a confrontation clearly took its toll. “I became this young skin-covered micromanager,” he said. “When you stress out kids, there’s a weird paradox that happens because they’re suddenly taking on things that aren’t theirs to take on.”

The interview revealed that Reynolds gets overcome with “dread and nausea before every talk-show appearance and becomes quite convinced he might die.” Even before the New York Times interview he had barely eaten all day, because “interviews for profiles make him crazy jittery too.” So how does he deal with being constantly in the media spotlight, with such a debilitating condition? Doing interviews in character seems to help him, as he finds refuge in being someone else. “When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set,” he said. “That’s that great self-defense mechanism, I figure if you’re going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly.”

He also revealed that he uses a meditation app to help calm the nerves, while stability, resisting the urge to self-medicate and generally looking after himself contribute greatly too. And he is certainly not alone in his struggles. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the country with over 40 million adults affected each year. Reynolds has done something important by opening up the discussion around the condition, which responds well to treatment yet only 36% of those affected actively seek assistance.

Scroll down below to see how people reacted and related to Reynolds’ interview, and let us know what you think in the comments!

More info: New York Times (h/t: Someecards)

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Ryan Reynolds has started a conversation around anxiety

Image credits: Magdalena Wosinska

After opening up about his personal battle with the condition in a candid interview for the New York Times

Image credits: vancityreynolds

“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety”

Image credits: Magdalena Wosinska

“Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun”

Image credits: vancityreynolds

Despite being a well-known actor, he still has stage fright to the point where he “gets wracked by dread and nausea before every talk-show appearance and becomes quite convinced he might die”

Image credits: Cris Pizzello

In fact, he had barely eaten the day of this interview because “interviews for profiles make him crazy jittery too”

Image credits: vancityreynolds

“During his ABC sitcom days, he chose to warm up the audience, mostly to redirect his panic or, as he describes it, “the energy of just wanting to throw up””

Image credits: VancityReynolds

He also opened up about the difficult relationship with his police officer father, calling him the “stress dispensary in our house”

Image credits: Getty

To keep his father from lashing out, he always kept the house immaculate: “I became this young skin-covered micro manager”

Image credits: VancityReynolds

“When you stress out kids, there’s a weird paradox that happens because they’re suddenly taking on things that aren’t theirs to take on

Image credits: Getty

He is known for his sarcastic humor which in some cases can be used to mask the anxiety

Image credits: VancityReynolds

Image credits: VancityReynolds

Image credits: VancityReynolds

Doing interviews in character seems to help him, as he finds refuge in being someone else

Image credits: vancityreynolds

 “When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set”

Image credits: vancityreynolds

He uses a meditation app to help calm the nerves, while resisting the urge to self-medicate and generally looking after himself help a lot too

Image credits: vancityreynolds

Other people could relate to his struggles

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Anna Sheridan
Community Member
4 years ago

The struggles of anxiety needs to be talked about more, especially since it's sadly becoming more common. I've suffered a lot with mental illness but I personally found anxiety to me the most crippling, it's makes being in your body and mind a living hell. Anxiety has made me feel more suicidal than any other feeling.

Virgil Blue
Community Member
4 years ago

As a fellow sufferer I agree.

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Lola
Community Member
4 years ago

You will never truly understand anxiety until you have gone through it. The panic attacks that make you think you are having a heart attack which get worse by the second. The fear of doing the simplest things such as answering the phone or going grocery shopping. The constant “get over it” from the people who are incapable of feeling any kind of emotion. I suffer from it from time to time but I feel that as I get older, I get a better grip on it. I feel for anyone who has anxiety and I know exactly what they are going through. Kudos to the ones who cope with it on a daily basis as it is like fighting a never ending battle.

Cassie
Community Member
4 years ago

If you are fortunate enough to not suffer from anxiety but are curious about what it's like, let me tell you: I know that everything I'm feeling is irrational. This is fight or flight gone wonky for no good reason. My heart is racing, my tummy is queasy. My face is hot and my head hurts. My mouth is dry and my hands are shaky. I feel very strongly like I need to run away from something. I feel like, at any moment, I will become violently ill. I cannot focus at all on the tasks I intended to perform. I cannot grasp simple concepts. Mild challenges become giant unsolvable issues. My shoulders and neck are tense and I cannot relax. These feelings are often in response to an event (like being invited to dinner or having a doctor's appointment), but the very worst thing about anxiety is that these feelings can happen for absolutely no reason at all.

Load More Comments
Anna Sheridan
Community Member
4 years ago

The struggles of anxiety needs to be talked about more, especially since it's sadly becoming more common. I've suffered a lot with mental illness but I personally found anxiety to me the most crippling, it's makes being in your body and mind a living hell. Anxiety has made me feel more suicidal than any other feeling.

Virgil Blue
Community Member
4 years ago

As a fellow sufferer I agree.

Load More Replies...
Lola
Community Member
4 years ago

You will never truly understand anxiety until you have gone through it. The panic attacks that make you think you are having a heart attack which get worse by the second. The fear of doing the simplest things such as answering the phone or going grocery shopping. The constant “get over it” from the people who are incapable of feeling any kind of emotion. I suffer from it from time to time but I feel that as I get older, I get a better grip on it. I feel for anyone who has anxiety and I know exactly what they are going through. Kudos to the ones who cope with it on a daily basis as it is like fighting a never ending battle.

Cassie
Community Member
4 years ago

If you are fortunate enough to not suffer from anxiety but are curious about what it's like, let me tell you: I know that everything I'm feeling is irrational. This is fight or flight gone wonky for no good reason. My heart is racing, my tummy is queasy. My face is hot and my head hurts. My mouth is dry and my hands are shaky. I feel very strongly like I need to run away from something. I feel like, at any moment, I will become violently ill. I cannot focus at all on the tasks I intended to perform. I cannot grasp simple concepts. Mild challenges become giant unsolvable issues. My shoulders and neck are tense and I cannot relax. These feelings are often in response to an event (like being invited to dinner or having a doctor's appointment), but the very worst thing about anxiety is that these feelings can happen for absolutely no reason at all.

Load More Comments
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