Emma Stone on her lifelong anxiety battle: ‘I didn’t think I’d ever be able to move away from home’

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Kayleigh Dray
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Emma Stone has teamed up with the Child Mind Institute to film a raw and emotional new video, in which she opens up about her lifelong battle with anxiety.

“It has always been something that I’ve lived with and it flares up in big ways at different times in my life,” the 28-year-old explains.

“Sometimes while it’s happening, like while I’m in a phase of big turmoil, it feels like it’s never gonna end — but it does.”

Stone has, ever since she was a child, experienced both the mental and physical impact of the condition: at the time, she considered “feeling nauseous” to be an everyday part of life. 

As a result, the La La Land star found herself worrying that she would never be strong enough to deal with her anxiety on her own, let alone live the “pretty normal life” she now enjoys.

“I truly, as a kid, did not think I would ever be able to move away from home or be apart from people I had separation anxiety with,” says Stone.

Nowadays, the Oscar winning actor has learned to manage her anxiety, thanks to a “great therapist” and a series of cognitive behaviour tools, such as meditation.

“It’s so nice to know that, in those moments of real intensity, it will shift, and it will change, and there’s a lot that I can do to help myself.

Watch the video for yourself below:

It is not the first time that Stone has spoken out about her battles with mental wellness.

“I wrote this book called I Am Bigger Than My Anxiety that I still have,” she explained in a candid interview with Rolling Stone. “I drew a little green monster on my shoulder that speaks to me in my ear and tells me all these things that aren’t true. And every time I listen to it, it grows bigger.”

Stone’s imaginary anxiety monster was powerful, she added, but it was also conquerable. “If I listen to it enough, it crushes me. But if I turn my head and keep doing what I’m doing – let it speak to me, but don’t give it the credit it needs – then it shrinks down and fades away.”

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 the Child Mind Institute, in particular, is doing its best to raise awareness of the condition in children and young people.

“Anxiety is the most common emotional problem in children,” the charity explains on its website. “Kids can develop crippling worries about many things, from germs to vomiting to their parents dying.

“Some anxious kids are painfully shy, and avoid things that other kids enjoy, [and] some have tantrums and meltdowns, and others develop elaborate rituals, like compulsive hand washing, aimed at diminishing the fear.”

Dr Harold S. Koplewics, who works with the Child Mind Institute, told People that having stars such as Stone speak up about their own mental health battles could have a hugely positive effect on young people around the world.

“Here are these remarkable individuals who give a message that says ‘if you are not ashamed, if you speak up, if you get a diagnosis and if you get treatment, your life can be as full and as productive as anyone’s – if not even more so than some average people,” he said.

“One of the things that change people’s minds about this is when we decrease stigma… and now I think it’s time for us to recognise how real, common and treatable these diseases are.”

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 Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.