Andie MacDowell Reflects on How Childhood Trauma Impacts Her Anxiety Today

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Photo credit: Kate Green - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kate Green - Getty Images


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  • Andie MacDowell, 63, opened up about her mental health in a new interview with The Zoe Report.

  • The Ready or Not actress said childhood trauma she experienced around her mother's alcoholism has caused her to have anxiety and PTSD today.

  • MacDowell said that despite her mental health issues, she always tries to look on the bright side.

At 63, Andie MacDowell has learned many lessons in life, but one of the most valuable lessons was the importance of taking care of her mental health. The Ready or Not star opened up about her experience with childhood trauma, anxiety, and PTSD in a new interview with The Zoe Report.

"My mother had demons and issues," she said of the late Pauline Johnston. Johnston was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also battled alcohol use disorder.

At just 10 years old, MacDowell would wake up in the middle of the night to ensure her mother's cigarettes were properly put out. "There were burn marks all over the floor and on the couch; it's amazing we didn't burn down," she told The Guardian. "That's a lot of responsibility for a child, I say. I think I've felt responsible all my life."

The actress said her childhood traumas resulted in anxiety and PTSD, and she's continuing to work on her mental health today. "It's hard to get rid of so much PTSD. It's in your bones and it’s in your nervous system for sure," she told The Zoe Report. But she maintains a positive attitude about her experience all of these years later. "I look at the bright side: I can use it, I can tap into that."

Ultimately, MacDowell doesn't hold any ill will against her mother. In fact, she said they had a pretty great relationship despite Johnston's alcoholism. "I always felt loved," she told The Guardian. In the last years of her life, Johnston quit drinking, and she passed away in 1981 from a heart attack. Johnston wrote a letter to her daughter telling her how proud of her she was just before she passed. MacDowell was only 23 at the time.

"She said she had quit drinking and that she was so proud of me," MacDowell told The Guardian about her mother's letter. "That was the last year of her life and I didn’t really get to be around it, which was super sad."

Like so many, MacDowell sought therapy for help with her mental health. "I feel like everything is going really well for me right now," she told The Guardian, after stating that she no longer has a therapist. Today, the actress focuses on maintaining a positive attitude and taking care of herself with hiking, yoga, and breathing exercises.

"I don't have a lot of anger," she told People of her mother. "I have a lot of compassion. Poor thing. It's an awful disease," she said of alcoholism.

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