They say that mental health issues don't discriminate, and Ryan Reynolds would be a classic embodiment of that saying. From the outside, it seems that Reynolds has it all. A great career, smoking hot wife, a People's Sexiest Man Alive title, two great kids, and one of the greatest senses of humour in the industry. However it seems that just like 14 per cent of Australians, Reynolds has been dealing with severe anxiety for most of his adult life.
“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” Reynolds recently told The New York Times whilst promoting his new movie, Deadpool 2. “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.”
Now a veteran of the TV and film industry (Reynolds rose to fame in the 90's on TV show Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place), he explained how the pressure of success only compounded his anxiety.
“When there’s built-in expectation,” he said, “your brain always processes that as danger.”
Reynolds' comedic roles, such as Deadpool, are some of the most effective coping mechanisms he uses to handle anxiety, even admitting to adopting a character during interviews, taking his characters beyond the screen and stage. “When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set."
His humour is a trademark and has created a cult following on both Twitter and Instagram.
“That’s that great self-defense mechanism,” he added. “I figure if you’re going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly.”
According to the interview, reynolds is also a regular user of the Headspace app, offering guided mindfulness and meditation.
Reynolds' brave and open discussion is the latest positive step in mental health among high profile men. Recently, The Rock also opened up about his mum's suicided attempt and his own struggles with depression.
If you or anyone else you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of self-harm, please seek professional mental health care or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, which will connect you confidentially to a counselor at a suicide crisis center 24/7. If you believe that you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 000 immediately.