Ryan Reynolds' Battle With Anxiety Proves Men's Perception Of Mental Health Is Changing

"I'm glad you put into words how I feel."

“Hey, how’s it going?”

“Yeah good, how ’bout you?”

“Yeah, not bad, not bad.”

At what point does the noble art of not bringing your friends down when you’ve had a bad day start affecting your mental health? Is it still taboo for guys to talk about their ~feelings~? Neither of those questions have a straightforward answer. However, if Ryan Reynolds’ latest interview with the New York Times is anything to go by, times are changing.

In the tell-all interview, the Deadpool star revealed, “I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety… 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,” (NYT).

“He gets racked by dread and nausea before every talk-show appearance and becomes quite convinced he might die.”

Although he credits his father with teaching him to be, “Watchful, listen closely and to plumb tragedy for the absurd,” Reynolds told The Times his anxiety started at a very early age, when he became a “skin covered micro manager” cleaning the house and mowing the lawn, trying to fix “anything that might set his father off.”

Apart from humour (see: his twitter feed), to deal with anxiety Reynolds told the NYT he uses the Headspace app, and reminds himself that as soon as he walks onstage the sensation will disappear; “When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set.”

To discuss the significance of Reynolds opening up publicly, we hit up Luc Wiesman, founder of D’Marge, who said this could be a tipping point for men’s mental health:

“Male celebrities speaking openly about anxiety and depression is a huge step toward men viewing the issue in a more positive and manageable light. It affects so many men, yet so many refuse to talk about it. Full credit to Ryan for getting over himself and talking about it.”

Men’s reaction on Reddit, a place better known for vicious trolling than emotional epiphanies, also suggests that guys are starting to view anxiety and depression in a new light. It’s been a while coming, sure, but these responses to Reynolds’ interview highlight how far we’ve come since talking about something other than sport earned you an awkward silence.

  • Anxiety is no joke. Sometimes it’s a week or two of irritable bowels and bad shits, and sometimes it’s a lump in your throat. Sometimes it’s worrying over a bump on your leg and sometimes it’s feeling dizzy for no reason at all.
  • Anxiety can manifest itself physically and be pretty debilitating. I think that’s something people who don’t get it don’t understand. It’s not just being nervous. It’s physical symptoms of an emotional panic you don’t even know you’re experiencing.
  • I left work one day because of sharp pains in my chest. Thought it was a heart attack (it wasn’t). Nearly had an actual heart attack when the bill came.
  • It’s like an evil alter ego. It knows exactly what you’re afraid of at that point and that’s exactly where it hits you.
  • Im living with GAD for like 9 years(and im 24) now, and only mustered the strength to go to a psychiatrist like 9 months ago because it manifested into depression too. Damn its rough.

And it wasn’t just confessions. Readers were also on hand to offer motivation and support.

  • Congratulations for finding your way to a psychiatrist. That step is hard as fuck to make but once it’s done, you’re on your way to some good ass shit.
  • I’m glad you put into words the feelings how I feel.
  • Sometimes you read something and it’s like “wow that person gets it” helps me feel better knowing I’m not alone!
  • I have the same thing. Exercise helps me a lot. Especially running. I have had a bad few days and it sucks. I always have to be doing something.

RELATED: Doctor’s Recommend We Take A Gap Year Once A Decade… For Our Mental Health 

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