Unless you are a media recluse, you likely know the name and work of at least a half dozen celebrities who have, or had, problematic anxiety. The list of famous anxious people being long only means that anxiety does not consider celebrity status a hindrance.
Generally defined, anxiety involves fear and uncertainty about an imagined, real, or remembered event or situation. Instead of experiencing anticipation with a normal amount of anxiety, the feeling is one of apprehension or dread. Our human response to intense anxiety is to avoid or control it which makes sense, but that only intensifies the anxiety.
If you don’t try to avoid or control it, what do you do, how do people cope? It is frequently helpful to hear what others have to say about living with anxiety.
People with social anxiety experience an extreme, sometimes debilitating fear of being negatively judged by others.
Major League baseball player Zack Greinke was diagnosed about eight years ago with social anxiety disorder. He shared that he often keeps to himself when at the Brewer’s clubhouse and why.
"I come to the park and want to get focused on my next start, and random people come and waste my time talking," Greinke said.
"To talk to people, I have to spend energy," he said. "If I spend my energy focused on talking to people and making friends, then that takes away from the energy I could be focused on getting ready to pitch. So I just try to avoid nonsense talk.”
Greinke uses medication and does what he has to do to maintain equilibrium. He is clearly an athlete focused on his work, but anyone who has an anxiety problem can relate to how Greinke monitors his energy expenditure.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is the experiencing of obsessive (repetitive) thoughts, and performing compulsive actions such as continually checking to see if the doors are locked.
Actress Jessica Alba believes her OCD comes from a need to be in control. In a CosmoGirl interview she revealed, “I used to unplug every single appliance in my house.” She went on to say, “It was like a panic came over me and I had to do something, and once I did it, I was OK.”
Alba now believes that she is still a bit compulsive, but also that the OCD is responsible for her proficiency, and drive to always do her best.
An agoraphobic fears being in public places or in crowds of people. They manage their anxiety by staying home.
The Southern cooking queen, Paula Deen, has struggled with agoraphobia. She married when she was 18, and had her first child when 19. For the next 20 years, she was agoraphobic. Deen spent much of those years in the kitchen. She didn’t have to leave the house to cook, and it kept her busy.
Deen said, “I could concentrate on what was in my pots and block out what was in my head,” Only her husband was aware of the severity of her symptoms, and she was too confused and ashamed to get help.
“Some days I could get to the supermarket, but I could never go too far inside,” Deen continued. “I learned to cook with the ingredients they kept close to the door.” What prompted her to get back into the world was the necessity of making money after her divorce. Necessity is very motivating.
Other Types of Anxiety
- Post traumatic stress disorder involves extreme anxiety resulting from a traumatic experience such as abuse, or soldiering. The journalist Lara Logan suffers from PTSD.
- Panic disorder is defined by a sudden onset of symptoms that include a fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, and agitation. People frequently feel as if they are having a heart attack, or are dying. Kim Basinger, Princess Diana, and Winston Churchill have the experience of panic attacks in common.
- Anxiety and depression are fraternal twins; they have different symptoms but they very frequently come as a pair. Barbara Streisand and Wynona Ryder have talked about having this un-dynamic duo of symptoms.
- Generalized anxiety disorder refers to intense anxiety that has no specific cause.
Not many people with an anxiety disorder overcome it once and for all, but anyone can learn to manage it better. If you have some tips on managing anxiety, please share them with the rest of us.
You will find more celeb support for anxiety on this YouTube video.