Jesse Eisenberg Says His Anxiety Made Him Anticipate Bullying: 'I Was Prepared for Battle'

Jesse Eisenberg is revealing the toll his anxiety placed on him as a child

Jesse Eisenberg is opening up about his battle with anxiety.

The 35-year-old actor spoke about his struggle during an Advertising Week fireside chat with Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, the president of the Child Mind Institute, in which he explained that while he’d never been bullied as a child, his anxiety made it impossible for him to relax with other children fully.

“I kept one tissue for crying and one for bleeding. I was prepared for battle, but nothing ever happened, which was almost worse,” Eisenberg said.

The Zombieland: Double Tap actor discovered acting at a creative arts school, which he said helped him manage his anxiety.

“Acting is a very visceral experience. It is a cathartic way to have an emotional experience that is safe and contextualized,” Eisenberg said. “[It’s] different from real-life experiences when I ran out of middle school hysterically crying due to my anxiety.”

Jesse Eisenberg
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Besides acting, Eisenberg said keeping an active lifestyle and setting daily goals keeps him grounded.

“If 12-year-old me was able to see something like this, it would show me that life ebbs and flows,” Eisenberg said of public discussions that have promoted mental health awareness. “It helps destigmatize something that is incorrectly stigmatized.”

When asked if anxiety continues to be something that Eisenberg deals with, he said, “Just in the morning, afternoon and evening.”

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Eisenberg also said he tries to avoid sharing his anxiety with his 3-year-old son Banner, whom he shares with wife Anna Strout.

“To me, there’s nothing better for one’s mental health than to worry about things that are real, and when you have a child, you can only worry about something that’s real,” he said.

He added, “I resist all of the temptations I have to make [my son] neurotic because I know it’s not helpful. I know that what might feel good in the moment of consoling a kid who appears nervous may be detrimental in the long term.”

Zombieland: Double Tap is in theaters Oct. 18.

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