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Winona Ryder’s Battle with Anxiety and Depression

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Winona Ryder’s Battle with Anxiety and Depression

There are millions of people all around the globe who deal with anxiety, exhaustion, and depression on a daily basis. If you feel that you're one of them, it's especially important that you are aware that you are not alone, that a lot of people, celebrities included, are going through the same things you're experiencing. Even people who seem to have everything - money, fame, power - experience bouts of anxiety and depression at some point in their lives.

Early onset of Anxiety for Winona

Born Winona Laura Horowitz, Winona Ryder was named after the town where she was born (Winona, Minnesota). At the age of 10, she enrolled in acting classes at the American Conservatory Theater.

She started acting at the age of 13 years old when she was cast by director David Seltzer in the 1986 movie Lucas. Since then, she has been cast in numerous roles that showcased her talent as an actress and earned her acclaim in the entertainment industry. Playing the role of goth teenager Lydia Deetz in Burton's Beetlejuice (1988) won her critical acclaim and recognition. She appeared in Heathers (1988), a controversial movie about high school life and teenage suicide, Mermaids (1990) which earned her a Golden Globe nomination, Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). She won Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globe Awards and Academy Awards for the role she played in The Age of Innocence (1993). She was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards for her role in Little Women.

The media has always been drawn to Ryder's personal life. She was a subject of much criticism and appeared on numerous tabloids due to her relationship and involvement with Johnny Depp and her 2001 arrest for shoplifting. She had since then revealed her bouts with anxiety, exhaustion and depression.

Winona reveals that she started experiencing panic attacks at the early age of 12, which she blamed on the pressure of working and going through puberty and adolescence onscreen. She explained that her bouts with exhaustion and depression led her to seeking intensive therapy.

She was cast to play the role of unstable teenager Susanna Kaysen in the movie Girl, Interrupted, a role Winona felt she was overqualified to tackle. She explained that playing the role of Susanna was very challenging because it mirrored a lot of horrible experiences she went through. Knowing that she experienced and felt a lot of fear and anxiety terrified her to play a role who was going through what she had gone through, because for her, it wasn't just a part of her past, it was something she had to battle through continuously.

Dealing with Her Anxiety and Depression

The movie set started to become an emotionally unsafe place for Winona. She explains that in order to give a realistic performance of getting an anxiety attack, she herself had to get an anxiety attack. Even after the director had yelled "cut," Ryder said she could still felt herself hyperventilating, with her heart beating a million miles an hour. It made her regress and go back to the time when she felt incredibly alone and couldn't explain how she was feeling.

Ryder hopes that the film will help those who are going through what she experienced while making the film. She says that since she started talking about her bouts with anxiety and depression, she had gotten good responses from people, especially young women, who were very grateful that they weren't alone, that what they were experiencing could happen to anybody, even people who seemed to have the perfect lives.

Ryder dropped out of The Godfather Part III and checked into a psychiatric hospital due to anxiety, exhaustion and depression.

Seeking professional help and diagnosis can have an intense effect on how those experiences can impact our lives, whether it's for better or worse. Many people would just define or label their complex emotional experiences as crazy, but that shouldn't be the case.

In October 2009, it was published in Interview magazine that after Ryder's publicized arrest in 2001 for shoplifting, she stopped taking major film roles. During the interview, Ryder revealed that she wasn't suffering or going through a nervous breakdown, she just felt like she had to start taking care of herself. She went on further to say that she stopped going out, that she was terrified and exhausted all the time. She felt that since she took her job seriously, it started to take its toll on her mental health.

Presently, Ryder focuses on smaller and independent films and avoids places where the paparazzi usually gather.