Posts Tagged ‘panic attacks’

Will’s Living The Dream

Thursday, Will tweeted an interview he did with Phil Morris. It’s about an hour long so if you have time, check it out. Honestly, it could be 10 hours long and I still would have listened to his sexy ass voice. Real talk.

They discussed many topics including how he got into acting, into Boy Meets World, how fate stepped in to have him play Eric Matthews, his family life, direction of today’s television, the type of actor he defines himself as, an absolutely crazy story about Jeff Sherman witnessing a woman die, his work ethics and his anxiety attacks. Plus some other topics that were all very very engaging to me.

Before I get into the part that got me all teary-eyed, the guy Will is talking about who was supposed to play Eric Matthews is Harry Barandes. They kind of look alike but Will was clearly the right choice.
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There were many topics discussed in the podcast but there were some parts that really spoke to me and I wanted to talk about them here. Will told a story about his friend, BMW writer Jeff Sherman and his wife, comedian Wendy Liebman, leaving Will’s house at a later hour than they normally would, missing a freeway entrance that they normally should have taken, and getting into a lane that he just felt like getting into that night and witnessing the car that got into the lane he was just in get plowed into by a drunk driver going 90 mph. He was JUST in that lane. Just writing this gave me chills. It made me think about how God is in charge of everything. When it’s your time, it’s your time. And it just wasn’t Jeff and Wendy’s time. I know it’s just a fictitious movie but it reminds me of the collision scene in “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.”

Honestly, I believe we’re just here on this planet to experience existentialism in human form, to take care of the planet, and reach our highest potential as human beings before passing into the next phase of life. Everything happens for a reason and everything I’ve ever experienced was meant to be this way. Even when we try to change it, it’s not that we’re fighting fate. I think we’re meant to fight because all the events leading up to this feeling created your emotions to react this way. It’s kind of like how I always envisioned myself getting married in my 20s but if that had happened, I might not have been able to experience all the wonderful things I got to do in my 30s. Jeff and Wendy still had unfinished business to fulfill in this life that caused them to be able to avoid that crash the way that they did and it blows my mind how easily we are reminded every day that life is short, precious and not to be taken for granted. You can read about the crash here and what Jeff wrote that fateful night here. Warning: it WILL give you chills and goosebumps. Don’t drink, get high or text and drive. Like Jeff says, “When you’re driving, just drive.”

I would love to talk about all the other amazing topics that Will and Phil covered but the part that got me all teary-eyed was when Will revealed a most personal and private experience. He stated that during the filming of “H-E-Double Hockey Sticks,” he experienced what he now knows was an anxiety attack. He said that he got on medication for it and that was why he gained weight during Boy Meets World. My heart dropped when he told this story. It hurt me to know he was suffering through these attacks while we were obliviously hanging back enjoying watching him on BMW. I don’t know if I can ever watch those later BMW seasons in the same way. I feel guilty now about all those times I was laughing my ass off at his performance knowing that underneath the facade, he was enduring this medical disorder and just putting on a brave face for us.

I know, I know, he’s not the first celebrity to persevere through something like this and he won’t be the last. In fact, another celebrity I love went through the same exact thing: Jonathan Knight. Yes, I am a bonafide New Kids On The Block fan and I heard all about Jon’s panic attacks, consequently leading him to quit the boy band back in 1994. He talked a little bit about it on Oprah back in 2001…


As you can see, it was heartbreaking to watch Jon physically struggling to get through the show. I never went to any concerts back then but I can’t imagine what it must have felt like spending 5 years performing in front of thousands of people while having this debilitating feeling inside. On the second clip, they briefly mentioned about the attacks feeling like you’re being judged by everyone because your physical state is unknown to everyone watching you and wondering why you’re acting this way. Jordan also talked about having performance anxiety and a light went on in my head. I did a little internet digging and found that performance anxiety was commonly known as stage fright, which is what I feel right before the moment I’m supposed to step out onstage in front of a live audience every time. However, I dismissed it because I thought everyone goes through this but now that I think about it, my fellow cast mates never did look as nervous as I did.

Back in March, my comedy troupe, Granny Cart Gangstas, did a live sketch comedy show and I was in 6 out of the 18 live skits we were doing which was one of the heaviest loads out of the entire troupe. In one of the pieces, it was just me and a mic and since I was alone out there, it made me the most nervous. Albeit, I was discussing my favorite subject of all, Will Friedle, it didn’t make me any less vomity or shaky but I had to put on my game face. I’m not sure if my nervousness came through in my performances. During all the rehearsals, I was fine but when it came to hell week, if we had even just one person in the audience, I freaked. My mind became blocked, my lines got lost and my body began to shake. I would get drymouth and would have to rush to the green room to grab water so that I could speak. In the first few times we did the show, I literally had to down some alcohol right before I went on in order to calm myself. Yes, it is unprofessional but it wasn’t the way I WANTED to go out there, it was the only way I COULD. Nothing heavy, I wasn’t downing Hennessy or anything, just a few sips of Moscato. It gave me a slight numbing feeling and that actually really helped. I eventually got comfortable enough to the point where I didn’t have to drink before I went on but it’s always that first show when I didn’t know how the audience would receive me that made me want to vomit and bail.

Hearing Will talk about the extreme attacks he went through made me feel like my suffering was minuscule & trivial compared to his. Environmental stress is a trigger for these types of attacks. For me, my self-esteem and self-confidence gets affected and thoughts of how others may be negatively judging me will run through my mind and make me feel like running away and canceling. The only thing I can kind of compare it to is that feeling you get when you’re at the top of the first climb on a roller coaster and you are half a second away from the drop and there’s nothing you can do about it. There’s a saying that goes, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” True that it may be, my mind will still create other people’s thoughts for me and about me and that is what affects me. Even though I was crazy happy with the words coming out of my mouth and I knew people will love it, a part of me created mental doubts and it consumed me and I had no idea this was not normal.

There are millions of people in the world who suffer from anxiety disorders and some don’t even recognize what they have. Seeing Will go through it and coming out of it on top showed others who suffered from similar disorders that they can get through it. There is a role model you can look up to and follow by example. Will also mentioned that when he finally decided to come back to onscreen acting through Girl Meets World, the audience gave him a standing ovation and it made him realize that he CAN do this. I’m so happy to have been a part of that standing ovation. I still remember that moment after his introduction when he came out from backstage and we erupted. We completely lost it. Ironically, he was creating panic attacks throughout the whole audience and I bet he had no idea. I thought some people were going to faint. When they were about to start, it would have been useful to have a sign.
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Lol! Good times. Anyway, I’m really happy to see Will thriving like this and he gets to see all the wonderful reactions from his fans about the work he is doing now that he’s on social media. We should all treasure these days. I don’t think he will be on social media forever so I say make the most of it while he’s here. To see him face the one fear he had that kept him from doing what he loved revealed that he is imperfect just like the rest of us but that he is also resilient, setting an example for all of us. And by the way, this man supports charitable causes like Breastcar.com. Ugh! I take it back. He’s perfect. Will’s actions bring forth his strength, courage, perseverance and heroism. I’ll always love you, Will.

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