One in every four Americans suffers from at least one kind of anxiety disorder. On top of being common and coming in a variety of forms, these disorders also afflict people from all walks of life—even those who perform for a living.
A surprisingly large number of musicians, actors, and actresses are affected by anxiety disorders. Some may believe that the profession demands a steely demeanor and the ability to take the stage no matter how one feels because the show must go on. However, the truth is that successful performers can only get to the top of their profession by recognizing the importance of putting mental health first.
As a recent example, the actress Patti Murin who plays Anna in Broadway’s “Frozen” found herself in the midst of what she characterized as a “massive panic attack.” Instead of suffering through the stage performance, she allowed her standby, Aisha Jackson, to play Anna in her place.
As she wrote on social media the day following her canceled performance, “I’ve learned that these situations aren’t something to ‘deal with’ or ‘push through.’ Anxiety and depression are real diseases that affect so many of us. It requires a lot of rest and self care to heal every time it becomes more than I can handle in my daily life…. Even Disney princesses are terrified sometimes.”
Ms. Murin reminds us all that panic attacks are not conditions that can simply be worked past to get through a performance. To alleviate the symptoms associated with panic attacks, patients must diligently abide by treatment plans that are devised over time by a medical professional after a diagnosis has been made. This is the only way to treat and ultimately reduce the symptoms associated with anxiety disorders.
You shouldn’t have to go it alone.