Gisele Bundchen Details Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideation In New Memoir

By Victoria Kim 09/28/18

"I always considered myself a positive person, so I was really beating myself up… I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel bad.”

Gisele Bundchen

In an upcoming memoir, Gisele Bündchen reveals that her life as a supermodel was far from perfect, despite how it appeared on the surface.

Behind the scenes, the Brazil native, who retired from the runway in 2015 after 20 years in the business, struggled with panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, People reports.

In a new interview, the 38-year-old mother-of-three said she is ready to share the pain she struggled with as she went from small town life to global stardom as a young woman.

Bündchen was 14 when she got her first taste of modeling in Brazil. The rest was history. 

“Things can be looking perfect on the outside, but you have no idea what’s really going on,” she told People. “I felt like maybe it was time to share some of my vulnerabilities, and it made me realize, everything I’ve lived through, I would never change, because I think I am who I am because of those experiences.”

As a young model, Bündchen suffered her first panic attack in 2003 during a bumpy plane ride. She struggled to accept the pain she was feeling while at the height of her success.

“I had a wonderful position in my career, and I was very close to my family, and I always considered myself a positive person, so I was really beating myself up… I felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel bad,” she told People.

The model said she felt “powerless” at the time. In her memoir, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, she described feeling like an “animal trapped inside” a cage. “I couldn’t see a way out, and I couldn’t stand another day of feeling this way,” she said, according to Page Six.

Unable to make sense of her emotions at the time, her anxiety only worsened.

“The idea swept over me then: Maybe it will be easier if I just jump. It will be all over. I can get out of this. When I think back on that moment, and that 23-year-old girl, I want to cry. I want to tell her that everything will be all right, and that she hasn’t even begun to live her life. But in that moment, the only answer seemed to be to jump.”

The former Victoria’s Secret model was prescribed Xanax, but didn't like the idea of receiving medication for her problems.

“The thought of being dependent on something felt, in my mind, even worse, because I was like, ‘What if I lose that [pill]? Then what? Am I going to die?’ The only thing I knew was, I needed help,” she said, according to People.

Since then, she made some changes to her lifestyle—like cutting sugar and relieving stress with yoga and meditation—that she said were the building blocks to her recovery.

“I had been smoking cigarettes, drinking a bottle of wine and three mocha Frappuccinos every day, and I gave up everything in one day. I thought, if this stuff is in any way the cause of this pain in my life, it’s gotta go.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr