Celebrities have proven that their famous status doesn't make them exempt from struggling with anxiety. Living their lives for the world to see, judge and react with a meme or GIF sometimes can only add to the apprehension they experience. While some can say each celebrity signed up for living their life in the public, anxiety is something that anyone, famous or not, can relate to.
Fortunately, stars like Cardi B, Big Sean and Taraji P. Henson haven't been holding back lately when it comes to discussing their experiences. Beyond the idea that it normalizes them, they've given their own reflective moments of how they've been able to treat it and make it through. Check out what some of our faves have to say about dealing with anxiety.
Big Sean was MIA for roughly a year before he opened up about dealing with anxiety. He seemed to be on top of the world before he canceled a tour in 2018 and took a step back from the spotlight altogether. Upon his return, he revealed he was dealing with anxiety and depression. He deleted all of his previous Instagram posts and started fresh with a series of videos to update his fans:
"I felt like something wasn't all the way connecting with my energy. I wasn't feeling like myself and I couldn't figure out why. I stepped back from everything I was doing and everything I had going on because somewhere in the middle of it I just felt lost…I got a good therapist. I was blessed enough to talk to some super spiritual people and they made me realize that one thing I was missing in my life… I needed clarity… I had to realize that it all started with me and nurture those relationships that were important to me.
"I started realizing that you can't give or depend on somebody for love or a good time if you can't give it to yourself. I started doing things by myself like going sky diving. In the midst of that I definitely rediscovered myself and found a whole new energy, and me being the source of it, not somebody else."
Missy Elliott has been open about her life with anxiety for quite a few years now. While she's known as a rapper who has broken one boundary after another, she said when she was younger, she was afraid of having too much attention, worried that someone could be laughing at her. She revealed that she had an anxiety attack before her surprise performance at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2015. She credits God for getting her through tough moments like that:
"I said, 'If I can get over this step, then I know all my dance steps will be on point.' I know it was nothing but the grace of God that lifted me up and took me through that performance."
Taraji P. Henson
It seems like everywhere we look, Taraji P. Henson is rocking a new role. But the iconic actress recently talked about her experience with anxiety and depression. She confessed that it's her level of fame that can make it even worse at times. Henson added that while talking about it with loved ones can be healthy, seeing a therapist is what helps her cope:
"My anxiety is kicking up even more every day, and I've never really dealt with anxiety like that. It's something new. [Fame] was fun at first, but the older I get, the more private I want to be. I think there's a misconception with people in the limelight that we have it all together, and because we have money now and are living out our dreams, everything is fine. That's not the case. When they yell 'Cut' and 'That's a wrap,' I go home to very serious problems. I'm still a real human."
"I talk to someone. I have a therapist that I speak to. That's the only way I can get through it. You can talk to your friends, but you need a professional who can give you exercises. So that when you're on the ledge, you have things to say to yourself that will get you off that ledge and past your weakest moments."
She also opened up about the stigma that the Black community doesn't embrace professional therapy:
"We're walking around broken, wounded and hurt, and we don't think it's OK to talk about it. We don't talk about it at home. It's shunned. It's something that makes you look weak. We're told to pray it away. Everyone was always asking me, 'Do you have a charity?' Well, dammit, this is going to be my calling, because I'm sick of this."
On the heels of her Grammy win, Cardi B opened up about her battle with postpartum depression after welcoming her daughter in July 2018:
"I thought I was going to avoid it. When I gave birth, the doctor told me about postpartum, and I was like, 'Well, I'm doing good right now, I don't think that's going to happen.' But out of nowhere, the world was heavy on my shoulders."
"For some reason, I still don't feel like my body's the same. I feel like I don't have my balance right yet. When it comes to heels, I'm not as good at walking anymore. I feel like I'm holding a weight on me. I don't know why because I'm skinnier than I've ever been. But there's an energy I haven't gotten back yet that I had before I was pregnant. It's just the weirdest thing."
How does she get through it? The "Please Me" rapper said she takes breaks from social media.
"I really don't need it, and sometimes it just brings chaos to my brain."
The singer is another one who took a break from fame (as much as he could anyway), and revealed his life with depression and anxiety. He said he had depression during his Purpose tour in 2017, causing him to cancel 14 shows:
"I haven't talked about this, and I'm still processing so much stuff that I haven't talked about. I was lonely. I needed some time. It's been so hard for me to trust people. I've struggled with the feeling that people are using me or aren't really there for me … One of the big things for me is trusting myself. I've made some bad decisions personally, and in relationships. Those mistakes have affected my confidence in my judgment. It's been difficult for me even to trust [my wife] Hailey. We've been working through stuff. And it's great, right?"
Bieber admitted that he once turned to Xanax to help him before he started seeing a therapist.
"I have been looking, seeking, trial and error as most of us do, I am now very focused on repairing some of the deep-rooted issues that I have as most of us have, so that I don't fall apart, so that I can sustain my marriage and be the father I want to be. Music is very important to me but Nothing comes before my family and my health."
Kid Cudi was one of the first celebrities of color to open about anxiety and depression. He wrote an open letter after going to rehab. He said he checked into a facility after he realized the status of his mental health had taken over, preventing him from trusting people, making friends and even living the house. He decided to get help to fight off his thoughts of suicide.
"If I didn't come here, I would've done something to myself. I simply am a damaged human swimming in a pool of emotions every day of my life… I deserve to be happy and smiling. Why not me? I guess I give so much of myself to others, I forgot that I need to show myself some love too. I think I never really knew how. I'm nervous but I'ma get through this."
Fortunately, more recently he said he's doing great.
"I'm the best I've ever been in my life. I realized I was genuinely happy, and there's nothing really going on in particular. Just being 34, to be still doing what I love. Taking care of my responsibilities, and my daughter's good and my family's good. Creating is making me happy again."
New mom Serena Williams said she had a new appreciation for motherhood after welcoming her daughter last year.
"Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I was just in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom. I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to 3 years if not dealt with."
She said talking about it is what has helped her the most.
"I like communication best. Talking things through with my mom, my sisters, my friends let me know that my feelings are totally normal. It's totally normal to feel like I'm not doing enough for my baby."
She's the brains behind most of our favorite primetime shows, but Shonda Rhimes has also struggled with social anxiety.
"I was sort of going on...about all the invitations that I've received and my sister finally sort of cut in and said 'are you going to say yes to any of these things?' and I remember being very taken aback and saying 'no, I'm busy, I can't."
She said her sister brought it to her attention that she never says yes to anything, and that was a moment of reality for her. Her outlet was none other than creating Grey's Anatomy character Cristina Yang, who Rhimes said was her alter ego.
"During my darkest hours, my quietest saddest moments, my loneliest times, writing Cristina Yang fortified me"[I] let her do and think and live in ways that voiced my dreams. She did not want to get married. She had a genius that she chased. She loved her work. I gave her a strident desire to not have children because while I adore children, I wanted to watch her fight that feminist battle and win."
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