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Emma Stone Reveals How Comedy And Therapy Saved Her From Panic Attacks

The ‘La La Land’ star opens up about her childhood anxiety

As a kid, Emma Stone wasn't the super-confident redhead you know her as now. First off, she's actually a blonde who religiously dyes her hair. But, in more significant news, she recently opened up about how panic attacks affected her childhood.

“When I was about seven, I was convinced the house was burning down,” she told Rolling Stone, describing how her mind always leaped to the worst possible scenario. “I could sense it. Not a hallucination, just a tightening in my chest, feeling I couldn't breathe, like the world was going to end.”

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Her anxiety got so bad that attending school was a struggle, and she couldn't visit her friends. At age 12, she even gave her parents a PowerPoint presentation to convince them to homeschool her. Two things helped her through this difficult time: therapy and comedy.

“I wrote this book [in therapy] called I Am Bigger Than My Anxiety that I still have,” she said. “I drew a little green monster on my shoulder that speaks to me in my ear and tells me all these things that aren't true. And every time I listen to it, it grows bigger. If I listen to it enough, it crushes me. But if I turn my head and keep doing what I'm doing — let it speak to me, but don't give it the credit it needs — then it shrinks down and fades away.”

The La La Land star also explained how sketch and improv comedy forced her to stay in the moment, rather than worrying about what's already done or what's coming up: “You have to be present in improv, and that's the antithesis of anxiety.”

She later gave her parents another presentation requesting to move to Hollywood to continue her work in comedy and acting. This led her to unforgettable movies like Easy A, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and so many more. Take that, little green monster.