“When I was 14 or 15, I started to get these pretty heavy panic attacks for the first time,” the writer-producer says. “At first, obviously they’re very scary because the sensation is that these feelings are overtaking you – you don’t know what it is. Mine were quite weird because they would affect how I heard things – so I could be hearing the radio, and the announcer would be telling the weather, and it would sound like he was yelling the weather angrily into my ear. And the only way to make the attacks go away, I’d have to go wake up my sister or my mother to have them talk to me. I couldn’t even call a friend on the phone – I had to have the person in front of me.”
The “Uptown Funk” star encourages viewers to unearth “the root” of their panic disorders and develop tools to handle the attacks, including breathing techniques and meditation. “There’s nothing strange or weird about you for having it,” he adds.
Sarah Silverman, Kristen Bell, James Van Der Beek, Gabrielle Union, Mayim Bialik and Lindsey Stirling are among the other celebrities who filmed videos for the second-annual #MyYoungerSelf campaign, which aims to end the stigma surrounding mental health and learning disorders. Each day in May, as part of National Mental Health Awareness Month, the CMI will reveal a video and childhood photo of a participating celebrity.
In a statement, Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, Founding President of the Child Mind Institute, said that these stories are “helping to eradicate the stigma that keeps the 1 in 5 young people who struggle with a mental health or learning disorder from getting help and reaching their potential.”