Patti Muran – who stars as Anna in the Frozen musical – has reminded us that everyone, even a Disney Princess, can be affected by anxiety.
Anxiety affects more than 8 million people in the UK – making it the most common form of mental illness. Yet, despite its prevalence and highly treatable nature, there is still a deep-rooted stigma around the condition, making it difficult for many to talk about it.
Despite these overwhelming numbers, however, sufferers often feel incredibly alone, and find it difficult to open up to friends and family. With so many misconceptions about mental health, it can be hard to explain to others what’s really going on inside your head – and put the complex range of emotions into words that your loved ones will understand.
Which is why it is always so wonderful when people in the public eye step forward to discuss their own experiences with anxiety, in a bid to make it feel less of a taboo.
Patti Murin, who has played Anna in Disney’s Frozen musical since last year, recently posted a photo of herself on Instagram, which saw her in costume as the iconic princess. In the caption, she explained that she had been forced to pull out of an evening performance after experiencing a “massive anxiety attack” earlier that same day.
“It had been building up for a while, and while the past month has been incredible, all of the ups and downs and stress and excitement really takes a toll on my mental health,” she said.
“I’ve learned that these situations aren’t something to ‘deal with’ or ‘push through’. Anxiety and depression are real diseases that affect so many of us. It requires a lot of rest and self-care to heal every time it becomes more than I can handle in my daily life.”
Murin added: “While I hate missing the show for any reason at all, Disney has been nothing but supportive of me as I navigate my life and work, and I’m so grateful to them.
“Just remember that you’re not alone, your feelings are real, and this is not your fault. Even Disney princesses are terrified sometimes.”
Anxiety symptoms are often hard for sufferers to put into words; there is usually a sense of danger or threat, of not being able to cope with what might happen – a “nameless dread” that provokes such physically real symptoms that it can be debilitating for sufferers.
The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person, and can include:
• A sense of dread
• Feeling constantly “on edge”
• Difficulty concentrating
• Shortness of breath
• Panic attacks
• Heart palpitations
The condition is treatable, so those who experience these symptoms are encouraged to speak with their GP.