Ryan Reynolds admitted he used to “self-medicate” to cope with mental health issues, and we applaud his honesty
Ryan Reynolds hasn’t been shy about his battle with anxiety. Back in 2017, Reynolds said he traced the issue back to his family dynamics in childhood, and that the pressure of making Deadpool a success brought a lot of mental health struggles to the forefront for him.
While gearing up for the May 18th release of Deadpool 2, Reynolds spoke with The New York Times, opening up further about the roots of his anxiety and how he manages it while at the center of a giant film franchise. “When you stress out kids, there’s a weird paradox that happens because they’re suddenly taking on things that aren’t theirs to take on,” he said while talking about growing up with his dad.
He then said he went through a “real unhinged phase” in his 20s. “I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way,” he said — recalling how he’d wake up in the middle of the night “paralyzed” with anxiety. He also admitted to self-medicating in order to ease his mind (though he didn’t delve into the substances he used), but ultimately decided to stop after several friends died of overdoses.
Reynolds says while he definitely still struggles with anxiety, he’s found much healthier ways to cope. He uses the meditation app Headspace, and likes to do promotional events in character as Deadpool.
"When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set," he said.
He’s also opened up in the past to Variety.com about how his wife, Blake Lively, has been an immense source of support. “Blake helped me through that,” (referring to the anxiety he felt before the release of the first Deadpool movie). “I’m lucky to have her around just to keep me sane.”
We appreciate Reynolds being so open. Mental health issues like anxiety affect 40 million adults in the United States, and we’re confident Reynolds is helping so many others feel less alone on their mental health journeys.