A friend recently sent me an article where Ryan Reynolds admits he suffers from anxiety and it was truly eye opening… (Full article)
“I figure if you’re going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly”
As someone who has suffered anxiety my entire life, it was strangely reassuring to hear that even a hugely successful actor like Ryan Reynolds, struggles with similar things.
Over the years, I’ve worked out many strategies to help with my own fears and anxiety, and it’s made me very passionate about the subject. That’s why I wanted to reach out to you all today and remind you that the team and I are here for you.
Acting is one of the most difficult pursuits anyone can undertake. You’re battling financial instability, social pressure, discouragement from family and friends, and you’re also battling your own self-doubt. I’m here to tell you, you are not alone. I have struggled through minimum wage jobs, and had to ask for money from my family just to stay afloat. I have had old friends give me that perplexed look when I say I am still trying to be an actor. I have seen peers shoot to stardom, and felt rejection in every form, from the lack of opportunities to the near misses of great roles.
It’s not an easy life and one that very few outside of the industry understand.
I think the most wonderful thing about StageMilk is the community we’ve fostered. We are a group of passionate actors from all around the world, coming together, to learn, to get better and nourish our careers.
So if you feel like you’ve lost some confidence, taken a detour, fallen into a deep pit of despair – just remember, you are not alone. We are all pushing through our own struggles, Ryan Reynolds included.
Also remember that though many of us put on a confident facade, all actors are going through similar issues. Reach out to friends and don’t feel embarrassed to admit that you are struggling.
One thing I recommend is to remember why you wanted to be an actor. I think what gets to us the most is that feeling like we aren’t moving forward. We aren’t where we want to be, and That Other Guy is! This emphasis on competition isn’t helpful. If you can enjoy the process of improvement and focus on the craft, that is the key.
Recently I have opened up old acting books for the first time, started doing voice warm ups and watching theatre again. These simple steps allow us to feel a little more in control, in an otherwise insane industry. So is there something you can do to come back to your passion that is not about “moving your career forward”. Have an afternoon working on an accent, go on a solo date to see a great film, or write that short film that’s been hanging out in your head for the last 2 years!
Acting is a wonderful, creative pursuit that is vital to maintain for anyone who has the bug. But most actors are sensitive people, and can easily lose this love and passion. They let “career” motivations get in the way of the work. But if anxiety and depression are so prevalent in hollywood superstars, that proves that success isn’t the panacea we are all looking for. It can be easy to get caught thinking that “if I just get that agent” or “if I just book that role” then I’ll be happy. But it just isn’t the case. It’s lovely to have a great agent or manager, and even better to book professional acting work, but it’s also lovely to be able to sleep at night. So don’t let your aspirations overwhelm you.
Though I’ve had some really tough times as an actor, one thing I’ve always been lucky with is my community. I studied at an acting school with 18 other students and over three years we got close. I am still friends with my whole year and the years above and below me. However, not everyone has these family-like connections, especially ones who are actors. I recommend trying to expand your community. Going to classes, meet ups and play readings. Anything that get’s you meeting people and making more friends.
Struggling to find a community? Join ours.