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28th Feb 2024

Is anxiety selfish? Emma Stone’s comments on condition spark eye-opening debate

Kat O'Connor

Emma Stone has always been incredibly honest about her anxiety

I’ve often looked up to Emma Stone for how beautifully honest she has been about living with anxiety. She uses her celebrity status to raise awareness about the condition, but she also helps normalise it because the condition is very common.

There is absolutely no shame in having anxiety because it’s something most people will experience at some stage in their lives, even Oscar-winning celebrities. 80% of people in Ireland will suffer from it at one point, according to a recent study. Talking about it and being so honest about it will always help break the stigma, make others feel less alone in their struggles, and raise awareness, but Emma Stone’s recent remarks don’t sit well with me.

The actress recently opened up about her anxiety struggles in an interview with Variety, but referred to the condition as somewhat ‘selfish’.

She certainly meant no harm in discussing the condition, especially as she knows all too well how hard and debilitating it can be. However, referring to an already stigmatised condition as ‘selfish’ may cause more harm than good.

Stone shared, “Part of the nature of anxiety is that you’re always watching yourself. In some ways — this is horrible to say — it’s a very selfish condition to have.

“Not to insult other people with anxiety — I still have it — but it’s because you’re thinking about yourself a lot.

“You’re thinking about yourself a lot”

She explained, “You’re thinking about, “What’s going to happen to me? What have I said? What have I done?” Whereas Bella’s way of approaching the world, it’s just about experience. It’s just about how she feels about things.”

The condition isn’t necessarily selfish, but all-consuming. As someone who has been living with an anxiety disorder for many years, I find that it can completely take over your world. You don’t realise just how consuming it is until your symptoms ease and the intrusive thoughts calm down.

Stone is completely right in the sense that the condition can lead to never-ending thoughts that revolve around you, but it is out of your control. The disorder completely takes over your way of thinking and consumes your mind, but there’s nothing selfish about it.

There’s no doubt Emma Stone meant no harm in her comments, but maybe it’s a lesson to us all to be more cautious when discussing anxiety.