Mental Health Month

Ryan Reynolds Reveals He, Too, Has Battled A Life-Long Struggle With Anxiety

"I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety."

May is Mental Health Month. Throughout the month we will bring you stories about mental health and the importance of breaking surrounding stigmas, as well as highlighting those who live with related conditions and are advocating awareness.

Ryan Reynolds just joined many other celebrities in opening up about struggles with mental health. The 41-year-old Deadpool star revealed he has been battling anxiety throughout his life in an interview with the New York Times

"I have anxiety. I've always had anxiety," he said. "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."


Like so many others, his mental health issues started when he was young. Reynolds said he grew up in a volatile environment because of his late father, who he referred to as "the stress dispensary in our house." As a result, Reynolds spent much of his childhood trying to prevent setting his father's anger off. "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."

As Reynolds got older, he continued to be plagued by anxiety. He calls his early 20s his "real unhinged phase." "I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way," he said. He would often wake up in the middle of the night paralyzed with anxiety and fear about his future.  

During his ABC sitcom days back in the late '90s and early 2000s, Reynolds chose to do the audience warm-up to help ease "the energy of just wanting to throw up." 

He's been on many, many more sets since that time and done tons of interviews and red carpet events. But his anxiety never went away. To this day, he still gets nauseous and filled with dread before every talk-show appearance and convinces himself that he "might die." 

Reynolds is currently busy promoting Deadpool 2, which means a whole lot of appearances. To manage his anxiety, he's doing a lot of his interviews in character and also uses the meditation app Headspace, according to the New York Times

The actor is certainly not alone in his struggle. 

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. It is the most common mental disorder in the country. Sadly, only 36.9 percent of those suffering receive treatment. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for additional resources. 

Cover image via DFree / 


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