Mental Health Month

Jesse Eisenberg Opens Up About His Anxiety And The Advice He'd Offer His Younger Self

"It’s not the worst thing in the world to have those feelings."

May is Mental Health Month. Throughout the month we will bring you stories about mental health and the importance of breaking surrounding stigmas, as well as highlighting those who live with related conditions and are advocating awareness.

To coincide with Mental Health Month, the Child Mind Institute — a national non-profit aiming to help families and kids living with mental health conditions — has partnered with 31 celebrities for their My Younger Self campaign. One video featuring a celebrity will be released every day in May for the campaign. In the videos, celebrities offer their younger selves advice about "growing up with a mental health or learning disorder" in an effort to de-stigmatize the subject and encourage others to seek help if needed. 

Emma Stone launched the series by revealing how she deals with anxiety and panic attacks.

In the latest video, released May 2, Jesse Eisenberg speaks about coping with OCD.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder with "illogical, nervous, uneasy, apprehensive, fearful, or worrisome thoughts; and the compulsion of repeating behaviors intended to reduce the related anxiety." It is a disorder that often begins later in life, between childhood and early adulthood, and can often stem from other conditions. It estimated that OCD affects 2.2 million Americans age 18 or older.

In the video clip, the actor and new father reveals he does often think about what he would tell his younger self as he "struggled with anxiety and nervousness" in school.

He states there are two things he would tell his younger self. 

"It’s not the worst thing in the world to have those feelings, even though it might feel like it is the worst thing in the world."

He acknowledges that it might feel permanent and like you would rather have anything else, but there is actually a positive way to look at it.

"Having anxiety might be indicative of having other beneficial characteristics," he said.

Eisenberg cites things such as sensitivity to the world, empathy, and an interesting or unusual perception of life as being positive attributes that can come with anxiety.

The second thing Eisenberg reveals he would tell his younger self is to get involved in charitable efforts as soon as possible. He reasons, "You realize very quickly that people have bigger problems that you and it kind of puts your life in perspective, in a healthy way." He adds, "It also gets you out of your kind of bad, cyclical thinking patterns. And of course, it's helping somebody else."

Since over 17 million children in the United States have had, or are living with, a mental health disorder, the My Younger Self series is vital for spreading awareness, and breaking the stigmas surrounding mental health so people can get help.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with mental health issues, there are a number of resources available to provide support. Check them out here.

Cover image via Denis Makarenko I Shutterstock

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