We love a celebrity story but so often the stories about are gossipy and mean-spirited observations. Occasionally though, along comes a story that we can use in a more positive way. I listened to Ben Stokes talk about how he has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for years. How he captained England in test cricket but found himself crying and breathless with panic attacks behind the scenes.
Now look at some other very successful people around the world – Oprah Winfrey, Scarlett Johnstone, Jonny Depp, Ryan Reynolds – what do they have in common? Correct, they have all suffered with anxiety and/or panic attacks over the years. These are gorgeous, successful, rich, popular people, at the top of their game. So, what on earth could they have to worry about? Their worries may be very different from our worries, but it affects them in exactly the same way. Mental health knows no boundaries – it can affect us all. If you feel anxious you can rest assured that you are in excellent company – welcome to a very non-exclusive club.
If you are in a public place right now look around –one in six of those people* around you are really struggling with anxiety. They may look like they are in control and enjoying life but in their head, they are falling apart. If you are one of those people suffering, please rest assured that you don’t have to live with anxiety.
The great aspect of these celebrity stories is that it can start a conversation. It can start a conversation around mental health, how it affects these successful people and then maybe that moves on. You might talk about how you have felt anxious at some point in your life or maybe how somebody you know is suffering.
The best way to start dealing with anxiety is to talk about it.