10 Celebrities With Anxiety That Have Spoken Out

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Celebrity Anxiety
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One of the worst things about anxiety is that it can make you feel alone—like you’re flawed in some way, and you’re the only one in the world experiencing such a feeling. And though celebrities aren’t usually great normalizers—if anything, they usually make everyone feel a little inferior, thanks to their multi-million-dollar homes and 24/7 glam squads—when they go on the record about their own struggles with mental health, it’s a good reminder that anxiety strikes everyone, regardless of what their bank statements might look like.

MORE: How to Deal With Anxiety—Without Drugs

A couple of weeks ago on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kendall Jenner opened up about her paralyzing anxiety, and last week, her big sister Kim Kardashian talked about her own journey in facing her demons. And then the election happened, and now it seems like anxiety has reached fever pitch around the country. So, to honor what feels like a nationwide pastime right now, here are 10 celebrities who have spoken up about anxiety—and how they dealt with it.

MORE: 10 Tips for Calming Everyday Anxiety

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Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner

"I used to have a lot of anxiety. I never went out," Jenner told Complex of a period in 2015. "If I tried to go to the movies or something, I would stop breathing in the middle and just cry. I'm surprised there aren't videos of me out there. I felt super trapped, like everybody was watching me."

How she's coped: "I learned to slow down everything, focus on things that I love, and say no to things I didn't want to do," she said. "I used to [agree] to do everything, but when I started taking control of my life again, I felt better."

Photo: Wenn
Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik

After the singer canceled a performance at the Capital Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium in the U.K. this summer due to overwhelming anxiety, Malik released a frank statement about why he couldn't appear. "After I put out that statement I was blown away by just how many people got in contact, and how many people suffer from anxiety," he wrote in his recently published book, Zayn. "It’s so common, and that’s not surprising, really. Life bombards us with pressure—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram… everywhere online there are unattainable body images that make us feel inadequate; competitive messages that bring us down; there’s pressure from our parents and our peers to excel—pressure everywhere."

"When that pressure is magnified by living your life in the limelight, it can be pretty tough to handle: There’s a lot of negative chat and hate out there," he said. "But what I found in the wake of my cancellation at Wembley wasn’t hate but a massive amount of support from fans—people who understood, kids who were in the exact same situation as I was. Guys on Twitter were telling me how anxiety had affected their lives and saying that they were glad I had spoken up. It felt as though some good had come from the situation."

Photo: Wenn
Kendall Jenner
Kendall Jenner

"I'm freaking out because recently I wake up in the middle of the night and I can't move," Jenner told her mom, Kris Jenner, on a recent episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. "Everyone says I'm fine, but I don't feel fine. And I promise you one day when I'm rushed to the hospital then you guys are gonna wake up."

"It is so scary when it happens, you literally feel like you are never going to get out of it," Kendall said of her sleep paralysis. She also has panic attacks on flights. "I am kind of freaking out. It is so weird as I get like super light headed when I am on planes and I feel like I am going to faint," she said. "I don't know what to do as I am freaking out about even flying home." Kendall tried therapy and meditation on the show—to mixed results, probably because she was, you know, in therapy on a reality show. She's still working through her anxiety and panic attacks.

Photo: Getty
Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian

On the same episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim revealed that she had been having anxiety issues, especially when she's behind the wheel of a car. “I’ve been having anxiety lately,” Kim said. “I am not this person.”

Kim met with a therapist on the show. “I think about it all the time, it drives me crazy,” she said. “I just want to get past my anxiety and live life … I never had anxiety and I want to take back my life." The therapist taught her some coping mechanisms, and Kim was soon able to drive without as much anxiety. It should be said that anxiety is not usually worked through so quickly, but it is a reality show, so …

 

Photo: Getty
Rita Ora
Rita Ora

Zayn Malik's honesty inspired Ora to do the same. "I'm so glad someone has spoken out about it," she told Cosmo. "I'm not scared to admit that I have had therapy. I have someone I speak to once a week. People suffer it in different ways, but for me it's more about thinking about the long-term goal."

Ora, who has suffered from panic attacks, said anxiety comes when she has to plan ahead. "I'm a very 'in the moment'-type person, so if I have to do something there and then, I'll be fine. But if I think about it, that's when anxious thoughts start going in," she said. "I get so nervous because I care so much. Sometimes I get nervous about recording a song in the studio. I'm like, 'I'm not ready to record this yet.' Or, 'I don't think I can do this.' So I'm relieved to have people around me who encourage me to do well."

Photo: Getty
Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham

Dunham has been candid about anxiety multiple times on social media. In one post, she emphasized how important it has been for her to exercise, no matter what. Exercise "has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible," she wrote. "To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it's mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I'm glad I did. It ain't about the ass, it's about the brain."

Photo: Getty
Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

"I’m in the news every single day for multiple different reasons,” Swift told NME. “And it can feel, at times, if you let your anxiety get the better of you, like everybody’s waiting for you to really mess up—and then you’ll be done. A lot of the time I need to call my mom and talk for a really long time, just to remind myself of all the things that are great and all the things that matter. If you do something that defines your character to be not what the public thought you were, that’s the biggest risk.”

Photo: Wenn
Beyoncé
Beyoncé

After her third album, Beyoncé took a year off. “It was beginning to get fuzzy—I couldn’t even tell which day or which city I was at," she said. “I would sit there at ceremonies and they would give me an award and I was just thinking about the next performance. My mother was very persistent and she kept saying that I had to take care of my mental health."

So Queen Bey dealt with her anxiety by doing everything she'd always wanted to do. “I went to see museums, ballets, the Great Wall of China and everywhere I had been to but never got to see.” If that's not within reach, don't fret: Beyoncé also echoed Lena Dunham's sentiment, and added that fitness was key. “I actually started running, I don’t know why," she said. "The steps are really small. I just felt like I was in my own world.”

Photo: Getty
Adele
Adele

In 2011, Adele told Q Magazine that large crowds were a no-go. “I will not do festivals. The thought of an audience that big frightens the life out of me,” she said. “I’d rather play 12 years at the Barfly [a small venue for indie bands] than one night at The O2! So I’ve made all those decisions and some people are pretty mortified. They think I’m mad.”

The same year, she told Rolling Stone, “I’m scared of audiences. I get shitty scared. One show in Amsterdam, I was so nervous I escaped out the fire exit. I’ve thrown up a couple of times. Once in Brussels, I projectile-vomited on someone. I just gotta bear it. But I don’t like touring. I have anxiety attacks a lot.”

But—she performed at Glastonbury this year for the first time, so something has shifted for the singer. “Oh, my God, this is the best moment of my life,” she said onstage. “Glastonbury means the world to me, I’m not even lying. I’ve always wanted to do this my whole life but I’ve been too scared.” Yay! Go, Adele!

Photo: Wenn
Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys

Keys has been vocal this year about eschewing makeup and showing up as she is. "I was really starting to feel like … I was not good enough for the world to see," she wrote in Lenny. "This started manifesting on many levels, and it was not healthy."

"Every time I left the house, I would be worried if I didn't put on makeup: What if someone wanted a picture??" she said. "What if they POSTED it??? These were the insecure, superficial, but honest thoughts I was thinking. And all of it, one way or another, was based too much on what other people thought of me."

Meditation has helped, she added. "I found my way to meditation, and I started focusing on clarity and a deeper knowing of myself. I focused on cultivating strength and conviction and put a practice in place to learn more about the real me." And she doesn't wear makeup anymore. "I promised I would approach things differently this time regarding my image and allow my real self, as is, to come through," she wrote. "'Cause I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing."

Photo: Getty

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  • Kylie Jenner
  • Zayn Malik
  • Kendall Jenner
  • Kim Kardashian
  • Rita Ora
  • Lena Dunham
  • Taylor Swift
  • Beyoncé
  • Adele
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