Everyone deals with self-doubt, and for people in the spotlight, that can be even more amplified. For Ellie Goulding, self-doubt manifested as intense anxiety as she worried that she didn't deserve her spot on the stage.
In an interview with Well + Good, Ellie revealed that she had "crippling" anxiety that caused panic attacks that could be triggered by anything. From panicking before she took the stage to simply not being able to deal with going outside, Ellie said she had to learn how to manage her anxiety. The things that's worked to ease her panicking, Ellie said, is working out.
Ellie told Well + Good that her anxiety started around 2010, when her career really started taking off. Even though she was excited to be experiencing success, Ellie said it was a lot to handle.
"I started having panic attacks, and the scariest part was it could be triggered by anything. I used to cover my face with a pillow whenever I had to walk outside from the car to the studio. My new life as a pop star certainly wasn’t as glamorous as all my friends from home thought. Secretly, I was really struggling physically and emotionally," she said.
Ellie makes an important point here. No matter how confident, fun or anxiety-free someone's life may look, what you see from the outside doesn't tell the whole story. Anyone can experience anxiety, no matter how glamorous you think they are. And what Ellie says might have triggered her anxiety is something that nearly everyone can relate to.
"I think part of what sparked my panic attacks was not feeling confident enough to believe in myself—I was scared I wasn’t as good of a singer as everyone thought I was," she said. "And as the stakes grew, I was afraid of letting everyone, including myself, down."
This kind of self doubt is something almost everyone experiences at some point in their life, no matter how talented, deserving or confident they seem. For Ellie, reminding herself that she does deserve a seat at the table helped her start to overcome her panic attacks.
"I was annoyed for being paralyzed with nerves every time I was about to perform on television. I told myself that this was exactly where I was supposed to be and if other people believed in me, I had to start believing in myself," she said.
The other major thing that helped Ellie start managing her anxiety is exercise. Through boxing and kickboxing, Ellie said she found self-confidence. "It wasn’t about any change in my outward appearance; it was about seeing and feeling myself get better and stronger. It carried over into other areas of my life, and now I truly feel that exercise—however you like to work out—is good for the soul."
Of course, Ellie still deals with anxiety — it doesn't just go away. But the difference is she now knows how to handle her anxiety, manage it and live with it. That's what's key. With any kind of mental illness, it doesn't just disappear one day. It's something you learn how to live with. That's not to say you will feel constantly anxious or depressed and you just have to take it — there are ways of improving your mental health to a point where you're living happily and comfortably, and managing what's left.
Finding what works for you, like Ellie did with exercise, is super important. Whether it's working out, doing some type of craft, meditating, going to therapy or taking medication, once you figure out how to manage your own mental health, stick with it. And if nothing you've tried on your own is working, there's no shame at all in asking for help.
Read the entire interview at Well + Good.
This story originally appeared on Teen Vogue.
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