Though she doesn't like the "pity party" that sometimes goes hand-in-hand with talking openly about her anxiety, model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner knows it's important get candid in order to help normalize the conversation around mental health. Jenner sat down with Dr. Ramani Durvasula for Vogue's "Open Minded" YouTube series and talked about how her anxiety leads to panic attacks that make her feel as though her "heart is failing."
"I remember being really young, I'd say 8, 9, 10...and having shortness of breath and going to my mom and telling her that," Jenner said in the May 6th video. In hindsight, she now realizes that this was when her anxiety disorder first presented itself.
From there, living life in the flashes of paparazzi bulbs and in front of reality TV cameras has only heightened her symptoms. "I've had times where I feel like I need to be rushed to the hospital because I think my heart's failing and I can't breathe and I need someone to help me," Jenner said. "Sometimes I think I'm dying. Sometimes parts of my body will go numb. And it can be really intense and scary."
"I think being overworked and being in the situation that I'm in now is kind of what set it out of control in a way," she added.
Part of the reason why Jenner apparently never feels comfortable talking about her anxiety disorder is that she already knows she'll be faced with critique from those who say she has nothing to worry about. "I'll never sit here and say that I'm not fortunate. I know I live a very privileged, amazing lifestyle," Jenner said before adding, "I'm still a human being at the end of the day."
Despite her privilege, Jenner noted that her brain still functions like that of everyone else. "It's not always happy," she told Vogue. "It's not always connecting...No matter what someone has or doesn't have, it doesn't mean that they don't have real-life feelings and emotions."
As Dr. Durvasula said to Jenner during their session, many people think they're struggling alone with their anxiety when in reality, anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults in the U.S.
This time of social isolation linked to the ongoing pandemic has made social anxieties worse for many of us. Jenner said that even going to dinner with "a few more of my friends than I'm used to seeing throughout this last year, that gives me anxiety."
"We're all learning our skills again...we lost them," Dr. Durvasula told Jenner, and it's important for all of us to ease back into our social lives and listen to our bodies in order to keep anxiety symptoms at bay. And remember—even if you don't think others are struggling, you're not alone in your fight with your anxiety disorder.