Emma Stone has been speaking openly about her experiences with anxiety — and advocating for those who struggle with the same issues — for years. The actress has alluded to having a history of panic attacks as well, but, according to Glamour, Stone recently described her very first one, which occurred at the age of 7. At a recent panel discussion on mental health conditions and the social stigma they often carry, she shared her experience in detail with Child Mind Institute cofounder Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D.
"It was really, really terrifying and overwhelming; I was over at a friend’s house and all of a sudden I was absolutely convinced the house was on fire and it was going to burn down," Stone said. "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 weren’t going to die."
Anxiety (and panic attacks, for that matter) can look and feel very different from person to person, but in her recounting, Stone touched on a very common theme in panic attacks: the feeling that you've suddenly lost all control. She went on to say that her struggles with anxiety reached the point that she didn't feel comfortable going to her friends' houses at all.
"I had deep separation anxiety with my mom... I was so paranoid about everything," Stone said. "We truly thought I wasn’t going to be able to move out of the house and move away ever. How would I go to college? How would I do any of this if I couldn’t be at a friend’s house for five minutes?"
As Stone grew older, she found ways to manage her anxiety with the help of her family and therapy (she has said previously that she doesn't get panic attacks anymore). "I go to a therapist, I meditate, and I talk to people very quickly now — instead of isolating, I reach out," she explained, nodding to the fact that dealing with anxiety is an ongoing process, one that continues to be part of her everyday routine.
During the panel discussion, Stone made it clear that she continues to speak so openly about her personal struggles with anxiety in order to help others despite the stigma surrounding mental illness (according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 80% of children living with anxiety aren't receiving treatment). "Everyone experiences a version of anxiety or worry in their lives, and maybe we go through it in a different or more intense way for longer periods of time, but there’s nothing wrong with you."
If you are experiencing anxiety and are in need of crisis support, please call the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.