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Amanda Seyfried opens up about overcoming her debilitating panic attacks

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Kayleigh Dray
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When you look at people in the spotlight, it can be all too easy to assume that they are living a perfect life. After all, they look glamorous and confident, they make millions doing a job they truly love and they seem, genuinely, to be happy and successful.

However, as we all know, things can be very different behind closed doors.

Anxiety affects more than eight million people in the UK, making it the most common form of mental illness. It can affect anyone, at any time, and at any age – and, thanks to the likes of Emma Stone, Cara Delevigne, and many other famous faces, people are more willing to open up about their battles with mental wellness.

Now Amanda Seyfried is the latest to join those in the public eye who have chosen to speak out about their own experiences with anxiety – and she has credited her husband, Thomas Sadoski, with helping her through it.



Sitting down to talk about the debilitating condition on Dr. Berlin's Informed Pregnancy Podcast, Seyfriend explained that she began to suffer from panic attacks when she starred alongside Sadoski in 2015’s off-Broadway show The Way We Get By.

“I started having panic attacks every six or seven shows,” she said.

“It feels like you're going to die. It feels like you need to leave the stage. I would act through them, and I would just connect with Tommy. And he would always be aware of it. He would recognise that thousand yard stare.

“And then he would bring me back and the lines would keep flowing but my whole body would be cold and I'd be sweating at the same time.”

Seyfried went on to stress that, while she would feel as if she’d been crippled by feelings of anxiety for a very long time, in reality the attacks would only last for a minute or so.

“It would only last 60 seconds and then I'd get through it,” she said.

“It would pass on stage in front of everybody. There's no way [the audience] would know, just Tommy and my mum.”

The Mamma Mia! star has, thankfully, been able to pinpoint the source of her anxiety: performing in front of a live audience.

Acknowledging that she feels far more “safe” in front of a camera, Seyfried added: “Up until [The Way We Get By] I just didn't have the energy to fight my fears. Because the fear is just too much.”



Seyfried is not the first actor to publicly thank their partner for supporting them through their anxiety: Ryan Reynolds, similarly, has addressed the fact that Blake Lively has always been there for him during difficult periods.

Reynolds explained that his childhood anxiety returned when Deadpool – a film he had passionately campaigned to get off the ground for years – was given the green light.



“I’d write 10 more jokes,” Reynolds said. “I never, ever slept. Or I was sleeping at a perfect right angle – just sitting straight, constantly working at the same time.”

Attempting to bring such a beloved comic book character to the silver screen proved to be incredibly daunting, particularly as fan expectations were so incredibly high. However, whereas he had battled anxiety alone in the past, this time around Gossip Girl star Lively was there to calm him.

“Blake helped me through that,” he said. “I’m lucky to have her around just to keep me sane.”

Anxiety is, according to the Mental Health Foundation, a “type of fear usually associated with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, but can also arise from something happening right now”.

Symptoms include psychological sensations, such as being unable to concentrate, feeling emotionally numb, and having a sense of dread, as well as physical sensations, such as nausea, tension headaches, difficulty sleeping, or dizziness.

If you suffer from anxiety, your GP can offer talking treatments and certain types of medication to help you stay on top of your anxiety. The charity Mind also provides a number of self-care tips. These include breathing exercises, complementary therapies, and ideas on how best to break the cycle of fear and anxiety.

Visit the website for more advice or, alternatively, contact Anxiety Care UKFearfighter, or No Panic for a wealth of information and support.

Images: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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