What Celebrities and Their Anxiety Can Teach Us About Losing Control

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I recently read an article about an Australian celebrity cancelling her performance which was going to be televised nationally during one of the most viewed events on TV in Australia. She had pulled the plug on her performance 30 seconds before she was due to walk out on stage due to an anxiety attack.

She was apparently in a situation that brought a heated discussion about a conflict of interests between sponsors. Naturally, she went into overwhelm mode and shut down to the point where she was unable to go out and perform.

I think most people would.

In the celebrity world, people can be dictated to by sponsors, product placement contracts, record label deals and studio deals that put the ‘talent’ in compromising situations. These situations can lead to anxiety and panic.

I find it fascinating that celebrities of all kinds aren’t allowed to experience vulnerable, human emotions and that the general public (along with the media) expect them to be some kind of superheroes/superheroines.

So I did a little digging and found some celebrities who have openly admitted they deal with anxiety and panic:

  • Leann Rimes
  • Johnny Depp
  • Kate Moss
  • Emma Stone
  • Kim Basinger
  • Scarlett Johansson
  • Adele
  • Amanda Seyfried
  • John Mayer
  • Ellie Goulding
  • Michael Jackson
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Abraham Lincoln


By no means am I suggesting that society should feel sympathy for celebrities in the public eye. What I am suggesting is that we have something to learn from these scenarios the media love to pull apart like slow-cooked pork belly.

Anxiety is a topic that’s close to me. I personally battled anxiety and panic attacks several years ago for several years. They suck.

Anxiety (if allowed) can take over your life and leave you planning your existence around it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

One of the best ways to help calm down an anxiety attack is to identify the trigger. Once that’s done, symptoms can drop substantially.

It’s usually related to a lack of control. Problems with control only really affect us when we feel like we don’t have control over ourselves or the circumstances around us. So, if and when you’re feeling anxious on any level, stop and define what you feel like you lost control over just prior to the anxiety kicking in.

This alone will help you change 1 of 2 things. Either your attitude about the situation or the situation itself. Don’t do it in reverse. Don’t try and do anything without first identifying what you’re losing control of. It will most likely make the anxiety spiral even further out of control.

All that being said, I’m writing this article without experiencing any anxiety, so all of this seems really calm, but in a moment of anxiety or panic, calm is not the modus operandi. It’s usually something like “shit! shit! shit! shit!”.

Believe me, though, I’ve done this for myself through some of the most overwhelming and anxiety-filled periods of my life – it works. I’ve also used it with clients on the phone, in crisis mode who were dealing with really heavy anxiety. Almost paralysing anxiety.

So today, take this away from what you’ve read…

  1. If you’re dealing with anxiety, you’re not alone. It can feel that way, but you’re not. It’s likely that someone you look up to experiences anxiety, they’ve just done a great job of not showing it.
  2. You don’t have to live with it. Yes, that’s true. I thought that my life was going to be determined based on how much of my anxiety I was willing to handle. My anxiety no longer rules me. Now it helps me in ways you couldn’t imagine.
  3. Put simply – your anxiety is a perception that you’ve lost control. Find out what that is and your anxiety will begin to subside and help you change your attitude or the situation around you.

If you ever get stuck with anxiety and panic, save this blog post (it’s not going anywhere), download my ebook and come back to both of them whenever you need them. I didn’t have them when I needed them, but you do. 🙂

Oh! One last thing. If you’re reading this, that means you’re alive and that means you’ve survived. What does that say about you I wonder?

PS. For more information on how to overcome anxiety and panic, check out my podcast episode on anxiety. It’ll help. 🙂

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