Elizabeth Olsen’s residential status at Marvel Studios has made her a household celebrity and a globally renowned personality. Her most recent rise to fame within the Marvel Cinematic Universe came attached with its own series tag and a full-blown antagonistic role across the multiverse. However, before all of that, the actress was faced with the stress and anxiety that’s associated with working in Hollywood.
Elizabeth Olsen Opens Up About Having Panic Attacks
It is not unheard of, in this day and age, for people to become increasingly vocal about their mental health and well-being. Those working in an industry that offers them a platform for global outreach then become increasingly relevant while opening up about their own struggles as the separation between the real world and what’s projected beyond the screen melts away to reveal a humane aspect of one’s life.
The MCU star, Elizabeth Olsen, has revealed to Variety her experience dealing with panic attacks when she was 21 and living in New York City.
“I didn’t understand what anxiety or a panic attack was until I was 21. I remember I would get them on the hour every hour. I used to live on 13th Street between 6th and 7th. I was crossing 6th Avenue at 14th Street, and I realised I couldn’t cross the street — I stood up against the wall, and I just thought I was going to drop dead at any moment.
If I went from cold to hot, hot to cold, full to hungry, hungry to full — any kind of shift in my body, my whole body thought, ‘Uh oh, something’s wrong!’ And I just started spiraling. It was so weird. A ENT doctor said that it could be vertigo related because it was all about truly spinning. So it was an interesting six months.”
This is not the only time an actor decided to candidly discuss their mental health and their struggle with it at a young age. Recently, we have witnessed young actors like Tom Holland breaking away from social media to prioritize their own well-being.
The Rise in Global Awareness About Mental Health
Elizabeth Olsen’s experience is just one among many that are now coming out into the open. Given the highly competitive workforce and pressure of surviving in the world today, it makes sense why so many people internalize their stress until it actively spills out at inopportune moments. Awareness about mental health, which includes stress and anxiety at its core, needs more dialogue to be had so that one can recognize what they are experiencing and ask for help instead of feeling like they were “going to drop dead at any moment.” Olsen revealed how she learned to manage and cope with her panic attacks after a point:
“I learned a lot of brain games. It actually was very similar to an acting exercise […] where you just are constantly making observations about the person in front of you and you’re just trying to connect. When I would walk down the street, I would just start naming everything I saw out loud to get myself out of the spiraling thoughts in my brain.”
While it has been relatively extinguished, skepticism still exists about the validity of mental health. Until merely half a century ago, psychiatry was not an established field viewed through a respectable professional lens. However, the exponential rise in awareness about the clinical issue has given way to a more open discourse in recent decades. Although there’s still a long way to go, more voices opening up about their experiences is one more step closer to normalizing the topic and giving way to conversation.