Gisele Bündchen on her history of panic attacks: 'Anxiety can feel all-consuming'

Elise Solé
·3 mins read

Gisele Bündchen says finding a new perspective for ongoing panic attacks has been a “beacon of hope.”

“From my own experience I learned that nothing is permanent,” the 40-year-old supermodel wrote on Instagram Wednesday. “Sometimes a gentle reminder that the bad feelings will eventually go away can work like a beacon of hope. Anxiety can feel all-consuming, and sometimes we need a supportive push to help break us out of our vicious cycle of worry.”

Gisele Bündchen is opening up about her struggle with panic attacks. (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)
Gisele Bündchen is opening up about her struggle with panic attacks. (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

She continued: “My own panic attacks were difficult for me, and I sought help. In moments like these, family, friends and specialists can help, and so can breathing and meditation tools. The most important thing is to move away from inertia and look for alternatives.”

“Life is our greatest gift — and every day is worth it,” she added.

Bündchen has made public her history of panic attacks. The wife of Super Bowl champion and newly minted Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback first revealed in her 2018 memoir, Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, that her panic attacks were once so severe, they led to suicidal thoughts.

That year, Bündchen also told People that her modeling career — which entailed landing the cover of Vogue, walking topless in an Alexander McQueen runway show, and being subjected to industry criticism like, “Your nose is too big” — triggered her first panic attack during a 2003 plane ride.

Bündchen said she ultimately experienced suicidal thoughts and was prescribed the drug Xanax, though she has transitioned from using medication to implementing lifestyle changes.

Trading her vices — cigarettes, wine, sugar and caffeine — for yoga and meditation made a difference, as did ending her five-year relationship with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. “Everyone who crosses our path is a teacher, they come into our lives to show us something about ourselves,” she told People. “And I think that’s what he was. What is good versus bad? I honor him for what he was.”

One year later, the model met Brady on the heels of his breakup with actress Bridget Moynahan, who soon discovered she was pregnant with Brady’s child Jack. The experience, she reportedly wrote in her memoir, turned Bündchen’s world “upside down.” However, today, the three have formed a solid co-parenting routine and a blended family that includes Brady and Bündchen’s children: Benjamin, 9, and Vivian, 7.

Bündchen attributes a seriously strict plant-based diet to her mental clarity. “You can go and buy all the products you want, but if you are not nourishing your body by eating nutritious food, if you are not exercising and oxygenating your blood and doing things that bring you joy, you are not going to feel good, and if you don’t feel good you are not going to look good,” she told Vogue Australia in March.

Altruism is also meaningful to Bündchen. In April, she and Brady partnered with private jet company Wheels Up to donate more than 10 million meals to the hunger-relief organization Feeding America.

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