Curve model and actress Hayley Hasselhoff on dealing with social anxiety: ‘When you have people calling you names that are defined by your size, you don’t feel comfortable’

Hayley Hasselhoff opens up about dealing with social anxiety and how she's working to destigmatize conversations about mental health.

Video Transcript

HAYLEY HASSELHOFF: It's OK to not be OK. It helped me so much to start fearlessly talking authentically about my struggles, rather than trying to say that I'm perfect and that everything's great in my life, because that's never been the case.

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My mental health journey started very young. I was dealing with anxiety. I don't know if I know exactly what caused me to have social anxiety, besides the fact of the matter that my relationship with my self-image and my body image and my self-worth wasn't as strong as it is today. And when you have people calling you names that are defined by your [INAUDIBLE], you don't feel comfortable. And I think that can make a lot of anxiousness happen for somebody that so young.

One of the most important things I always say is that you can struggle and still succeed. You can be somebody who deals with anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and still live a beautiful, successful life. There's a stigma around mental health and mental health conditions, that if you have anxiety, you have depression, you can't live a beautiful life. And I want to break that stigma.

Everyone has their own relationship with therapy. I think therapy is an amazing tool. I think being able to do community therapy, in the sense of just going on social media to a page that necessarily lifts you up, is an amazing tool.

I've been honest and open every time a flare-up arises. And it's so useful, because it allows me to feel like I'm already validated and that I don't have to feel ashamed toward how I'm feeling. Sometimes I look back, and there's days even to now where I go, thank you for being your best friend. Thank you for seeing the things that maybe other people didn't see about you, because if you didn't, I don't know where you'd be. And I think that that's the honest truth. I'm getting very emotional.

"Redefine You: A Conversation for Well-Being" is my new podcast. It actually started out first as an Insta Live series the first week in lockdown. But I had conversations with friends of mine in the industry about their ownership of self, their mental health journey. What do they do to help themselves through those challenging moments? And hopefully, they can give that knowledge back to somebody who may be dealing with the fear of the unknown.

We're also talking to well-being practitioners and clinicians, breaking down all the [? Little Miss ?] [? Stigmas ?] that are out there, so we can actually help you build your personalized toolbox.

I prioritize my mental health every single day. I will do a breath work. I will do a sound meditation. I have a tapper, which is [? actually ?] a Chinese medicine tool, and I tap my body, just to be able to get my blood circulating. That's the perfect little medicine for me. And the anxiety was there, and then I can kind of whack it away.

Clarity is the number one thing when it comes to mental health. When you have clarity, you feel like you're understood. And when you're misunderstood, that can cause a lot of problems for your own self-worth, your own sense of self, and beyond.

My biggest hope within my journey is to encourage others to not be fearful of their feelings. I was so fearful to feel angry or to feel sad or to feel confused or frustrated, when, in fact, those are normal feelings to have. When you don't talk about it, you're just getting stuck in your head that you're alone, and that's when it becomes a crisis. So if we can stop that by having vulnerable conversations with one another when it is just at a flare-up, then hopefully it'll stop us from making it a crisis.

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