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Ryan Reynolds is a funny guy.

Really, though. His jokes alone are a good reason to join Twitter.

But behind the laughs, the "Deadpool" star lives with a more sobering reality: the daunting effects of anxiety.

Reynolds has opened up about living with anxiety before. But in a new interview with The New York Times, the actor shed even more light on what he's experienced living with the mental health condition and how he copes with its at times devastating hold.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.


"I have anxiety," Reynolds explained to The Times. "I've always had anxiety."

"Both in the lighthearted, 'I'm anxious about this,' kind of thing,'" he continued, "and I've been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun.”

Reynolds isn't alone at the darker end of that spectrum. About 18.1% of adults in the U.S. — 40 million people — live with an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. The organization reports it's the most common form of mental illness in the country.

Though occasional bouts of anxiety are a normal part of being human, the Mayo Clinic notes that "people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations."

Reynolds believes his anxiety stems, at least in part, from his childhood in Vancouver, Canada. "Our father was tough," he told Variety in 2016:

"He wasn't easy on anyone. And he wasn't easy on himself. I think the anxiety might have started there, trying 
to find ways to control others by trying to control myself. At the time, I never recognized that. I was just a twitchy kid."

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images.

As an adult, he said his anxiety has manifested in many ways. He used to wake up in the dead of night, gripped with irrational panic over his future. When he starred on the ABC sitcom "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" two decades ago, he'd often warm-up the live studio audience — not to selflessly loosen up fans, but to re-focus "the energy of just wanting to throw up," he told The New York Times.

The actor can remember self-medicating in his early 20s as an attempt to avoid the symptoms associated with anxiety, saying, "I was partying and just trying to make myself vanish in some way."

Reynolds plans on doing many of his upcoming "Deadpool 2" promo interviews in character — not to get laughs, he explained, but to temper his anxiety.

Even after decades in the spotlight, the actor's anxiety elicits a unique kind of dread before interviews and talk show appearances. Emulating Deadpool's sardonic stage presence helps him feel a bit more comfortable.

“When the curtain opens, I turn on this knucklehead, and he kind of takes over and goes away again once I walk off set,” he told the Times. "That's that great self-defense mechanism. I figure if you're going to jump off a cliff, you might as well fly."

Reynolds also uses a meditation app, Headspace, to stay calm and — after years of living with anxiety — confidently reminds himself ahead of appearances that the awful feelings will soon pass.

If you're in Reynolds' boat, there's no need to feel helpless. Everyone's anxiety is different, so there's not a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment, but the Mayo Clinic has some advice for those living with its effects: Take part in activities you enjoy, avoid drugs or alcohol (which can worsen symptoms), and consider reaching out for help from a medical professional.

To learn more about anxiety, visit the Mayo Clinic's website.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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