Ryan Reynolds Gets Candid About Lifelong Anxiety Battle

By Desiree Bowie 05/04/18

“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety... I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”

Ryan Reynolds

Actor Ryan Reynolds recently opened up to the New York Times about his long-time struggle with anxiety and how he has learned to cope in the midst of it.

“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” the Deadpool 2 star revealed. “Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”

The Canadian-born actor, known for his wry sense of humor, says he went through a “real unhinged phase” during his early 20s due to an onslaught of success from the popular ABC sitcom Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.

“I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way,” Reynolds admitted.

With his anxiety crashing in on him, Reynolds turned to self-medication. After losing a few friends to overdoses, he decided to curb that behavior.

After Two Guys ended, Reynolds would go on to have many career highs and lows. Now, Reynolds' career is on the upswing with the massive success of Deadpool and its highly anticipated sequel, slated to open next week. 

But it wasn't a cake walk to get there. Reynolds worked more than 10 years developing Deadpool, his passion projectand was under immense pressure for it to resonate with audiences. The pressure led to an emotional breakdown before the film hit the big screen in 2016.

At the time, he told GQ, “I felt like I was on some schooner in the middle of a white squall the whole time. It just never stopped. When it finally ended, I had a little bit of a nervous breakdown. I literally had the shakes.”

Reynolds then went to the doctor to find out what was happening with his body. 

"I felt like I was suffering from a neurological problem or something," he told GQ. "And every doctor I saw said, ‘You have anxiety.’" 

Now the 41-year-old actor, who has two children with wife Blake Lively, has figured out a few new ways to cope with anxiety as he sets off on a press tour for the highly anticipated sequel to Deadpool.

In order to get through the slew of interviews and comic conventions, Reynolds has opted for a quirky coping mechanism: he often does interviews in the character of Deadpool.

Alongside this, he also uses Headspace, an app which offers mindfulness training and guided meditation.

Now the actor is learning to embrace the spotlight because he knows at the end of the day, he gets to go home and be himself.

“When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set,” he said.

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Desiree Bowie is a writer and movie lover from Los Angeles, California. Follow her on Twitter @dangerbowie