To raise awareness for the mental health of children, actress Emma Stone spoke to the president of the Child Mind Institute, Dr. Harold Koplewicz, about her struggles with anxiety and panic attacks and how acting saved her life.
While speaking with Dr. Koplewicz, Stone said she had her first panic attack in the second grade and always struggled with it growing up. “It was really, really terrifying and overwhelming,” she said. “I was at a friend’s house, and all of a sudden I was convinced the house was on fire and it was burning down. I was just sitting in her bedroom and obviously the house wasn’t on fire, but there was nothing in me that didn’t think we were going to die.”
Stone shared that her anxiety and panic attacks made it so she didn’t want to go to school and couldn’t hang out at her friends’ houses.
Once her family noticed a pattern, Stone started going to therapy, which she called “embarrassing or shameful” because it wasn’t normal to talk about mental health or therapy at the time. While Stone was in therapy, she said she didn’t actually know she had a disorder because her mom didn’t tell her. She explained:
Child Mind Institute – live via https://t.co/s7I6Ualpz9 https://t.co/qBT0mpv2je
Stone continues to cope with her anxiety and panic attacks, and acting is a big part of how she works toward her goals. “If I didn’t go to LA, I would die,” she said. Her struggles have also helped her become a better actress because she’s able to relate to different characters. “There is a tendency to want to understand how people around you work or what’s going on internally with them which is great for characters,” she said.
But Stone said acting isn’t the only thing that can help other people overcome their own struggles. She said, “You just have to find that thing within you that you are drawn to.”
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