As the number of children diagnosed with anxiety has risen in recent years, so has the need for prominent figures to speak out and reduce the stigma of having anxiety.


An advocate has come forward, and he's quite unexpected. From his smooth demeanour to his quick comebacks, Ryan Reynolds always seems at ease.


However, in a recent New York Times profile, the Deadpool star revealed that he's struggled with anxiety for his entire career.


The Canadian actor is gripped with nausea and fear before every talk show appearance. This sense of dread can build up to the extent that he is convinced at the moment that he may die.



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“I have anxiety, I’ve always had anxiety,” Ryan revealed, “Both in the lighthearted ‘I’m anxious about this’ kind of thing, and I’ve been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”


His quick wit, which has made him a sensation on social media, has often been his primary form of self-protection in stressful situations.


The Definitely, Maybe star's strained relationship with his father Jim, a former police officer, partially led Ryan to develop this unconventional defence mechanism.


His father was a 'the stress dispensary in our house', Ryan noted: "I became this young skin-covered micromanager. 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.”



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Jim was also quite the character though, and introduced his son to comedy icons like Buster Keaton and Jack Benny. Through this, Ryan learned that every difficult moment has an element to it that can be made laughable.


Then, when Ryan got into his early 20s, he entered a phased that he characterises as 'unhinged'


“I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way,” he admits.


Things are better these days, though. The father-of-two uses specific coping mechanisms to deal with his anxiety in a constructive way.



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Often he does interviews in character as Deadpool, who is overly confident and perpetually wise-cracking (sound familiar?).


As well, the 41-year-old uses the meditation app Headspace before entering anxiety-inducing situations.


Finally, he says, “When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set."


“That’s that great self-defence mechanism," Ryan reflected, "I figure if you’re going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly.”