Colbert told Rolling Stone that he's suffered from anxiety virtually his entire adult life, but finds that being out and performing helps.
As the highly successful and popular presenter of ‘The Late Show’ and latterly ‘The Colbert Report’, it might surprise you to learn that Stephen Colbert struggles with anxiety. However, his coping mechanism is to get out there and perform, rather than rely on medication.
The 54 year old TV host told Rolling Stone this week that he used to cope with anxiety when he was younger, which all came to ahead soon after he got married his wife Evelyn in 1993.
“I had a bit of a nervous breakdown after I got married — kind of panic attacks,” Colbert told the publication. “My wife would go off to work and she’d come home — because I worked at night — and I’d be walking around the couch. And she’s like, ‘How was your day?’ And I’d say, ‘You’re looking at it.’ Just tight circles around the couch.”
Stephen Colbert has fronted 'The Late Show' since 2015
After this period, Colbert said he began taking medication to manage his condition, but stopped after a few days when he realised it wasn’t helping him in the way he had hoped.
“I realized that the gears were still smoking. I just couldn’t hear them anymore,” he said. “But I could feel them, I could feel the gearbox heating up and smoke pouring out of me.”
However, what did seem to work was when he got involved with improv with the Second City troupe in Chicago.
“I would go to the show, and I would curl up in a ball on the couch backstage and I would wait to hear my cue lines. Then I would uncurl and go onstage and I’d feel fine,” he explained. “Which occurred to me at the time: Like, ‘Oh, you feel fine when you’re out here.’ And then as soon as I got offstage, I’d just crumble into a ball again. Nobody ever asked me what was wrong! It went on for months.”
To that end, Colbert’s work has always continued to be an outlet and a coping mechanism for him. His long-running Comedy Central series ‘The Colbert Report’ began in 2005 and ended in 2014, whereupon he replaced the retired David Letterman as the host of CBS’ ‘The Late Show’ in 2015.
“Creating something is what helped me from just spinning apart like an unweighted flywheel,” he continued. “And I haven’t stopped since. Even when I was a writer, I always had to be in front of a camera a little bit. I have to perform.”
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