Veep's Tony Hale Talks Anxiety

By Beth Leipholtz 04/11/19

“I don't think people understand managing it. It's a daily choice. It really is,” Hale said in a recent interview.

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Veep's Tony Hale

As both Arrested Development and Veep come to an end, actor Tony Hale’s next plans include a Netflix show based on his book about a chicken named Archibald, with a wider message about the importance of being present. 

“You have to be present,” Hale recently told GQ. “Everything is a big thing. Me talking to you right now: this is my big thing. It's not somewhere else. And this whole idea of, if you're not practicing contentment where you are, you're not going to be content when you get what you want.”

The idea of being present, Hale says, is a constant work in progress for him as well, as he has long struggled with anxiety. 

“This therapist I worked with talked about how you have to wake yourself up 100 times a day to where you are,” Hale told GQ. “And in creating stories for Archibald it's been good practice, and it's an absolute joy.”

Working on being present, like Archibald, is one of the strongest tools for Hale personally when it comes to managing anxiety. “My default is to be checked out somewhere,” he tells GQ. “My default is to be living in some reality that hasn't even happened.”

He has to remind himself that being an actor also factors into his anxiety, Hale says.

“As an actor you are a very emotional being,” he said. “And because of that, you kind of give a lot of power to emotions or thoughts, and you sometimes become a victim to that. I try to be like, ‘Oh, there's that thought. There's that emotion.’ As if I'm watching cars on a highway.”

Like many people who battle anxiety, Hale has also had experience with panic attacks. He discusses one instance in particular that stands out: early in his career, he was about to be on a talk show and says he had yet to feel like he belonged there. So, to manage his anxiety, he shifted his focus to someone other than himself. 

“There were these two guys who were pulling the curtain. I just started asking them questions... and then they pulled the curtain and I went out. It might only have been a few seconds, but it saved everything,” Hale recalled. 

Now, Hale just focuses on his day-to-day and acknowledges that anxiety is something that has to be managed. He says he talks about it so often because of the role it plays in his life daily. 

“I don't think people understand managing it,” he said. “It's a daily choice. It really is.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

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