In a new Rolling Stone interview, the Late Show, host Stephen Colbert gets personal about his long time struggle with anxiety and how he was able to cope on his own terms. In the article Colbert talks about one of his darker moments, saying:
I had a bit of a nervous breakdown after I got married — kind of panic attacks. My wife would go off to work and she’d come home — because I worked at night — and I’d be walking around the couch. And she’s like, ‘How was your day?’ And I’d say, ‘You’re looking at it.’ Just tight circles around the couch.
After going on medication briefly, Colbert decided that wasn’t the route for him to take. He describes the medication as:
I realized that the gears were still smoking. I just couldn’t hear them anymore, but I could feel them, I could feel the gearbox heating up and smoke pouring out of me.
It was shortly after he realized it was during performances that he felt the most comfortable in his skin.
I would go to the show, and I would curl up in a ball on the couch backstage and I would wait to hear my cue lines. Then I would uncurl and go onstage and I’d feel fine. Which occurred to me at the time: Like, ‘Oh, you feel fine when you’re out here.’ And then as soon as I got offstage, I’d just crumble into a ball again. Nobody ever asked me what was wrong! It went on for months.
Creating something is what helped me from just spinning apart like an unweighted flywheel and I haven’t stopped since. Even when I was a writer, I always had to be in front of a camera a little bit. I have to perform.
Luckily for the rest of us we all benefit from his cure.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) August 30, 2018
These Twitter users could relate.
Performing cures my anxiety too
There were years I couldn't go a day without playing music
— Maryam (@Shanti_Sekha) August 30, 2018
Colbert's story is very similar to my own. I would go through the day with a pit in my stomach, I would have to suppress shaking from nervousness when in groups, always second guessing myself and feeling inadequate.
Taking a leadership role at work REALLY helped.
— DougZ (@Doug_Zbi) August 30, 2018
Thank you for anxiety revelation. I know the panic and shaking. I don't take Xanax but I am taking medicine for it. It scares me sometimes when my hands are shaking and I wake sweating and my heart is beating so fast. Thank you
— Barbara Crowell (@Barbcrowell611) August 30, 2018
Good going! End mental illness shaming!
Stephen Colbert says performing helps his anxiety: https://t.co/6jfGC1qzgo
— Justin Shoemaker (@JustinDudarino) August 30, 2018
“Colbert knows making others laugh is crucial to his well-being.”https://t.co/FB59IW1ZqP
— Hannah Petosa (@hannahpetosa) August 30, 2018
You shine like a crazy diamond. https://t.co/cBJAG3cw36
— Ezra Pound (@FosteSherman) August 29, 2018
Let’s hope Colbert is entertaining us for years to come.