Don’t Stop Me Now: A Story of Theatre and Anxiety

  • Gigi Principe

May is Mental Health Awareness month and in the community of theatre, art and performance, now is more of a time than ever where it is being talked about. 

You have show such as Dear Evan Hansen  and now Be More Chill that deal with topics such as anxiety and depression. And I, your writer is just one of many people who have anxiety. 

I feel like not a lot of people talk about it their own anxiety yet here I am. Going with the flow is not always an option for me because of past experiences I want to feel like I’m in control. 

You can imagine how my mornings of auditioning while being non union/ Non equity can go. I wake up at the crack of dawn not knowing if I’ll even been seen. Then I have to wait in a waiting room filled with other people who want the same thing as me. And on some certain days I’m not seen at all. 

Living with this type of anxiety just tells me that I have to do things a little differently and it helps to know yourself. Never ever force yourself to do something that you aren’t comfortable with even when you see others doing it. I know it’s easier said than done.

Living with anxiety, I have to tell myself to don’t stop what I’m doing. I keep going to auditions every day when I can and I happily sit and wait. I check with a smile on my face. I know I’m one of the lucky ones that has a great support system in the city. They keep me going. And you can bet I listen to so much music. Queen is at the top of my list followed by my many classic Rock and Broadway playlist. 

Trust me when I say that I definitely have my bad days that consist of negative body image, worried that I’m being too much or annoying to the people I love and the people around me,  worried that the people I love will leave me, crying, lots of crying and the feeling that I will never amount to anything here in the big city of New York. 

I’m writing this for everyone who has ever gone through the things I just described. I know it’s so hard to tell your story of anxiety in fear of being judged. I’m here to tell you you’re not alone. You. Are. Not. Alone. 

I want you to tell yourself this even when you do feel alone. Listen to your favorite music, listen to a podcast, read a book, talk to someone you trust. Just know that no matter how bad things get, it gets better. Someone I love once told me that a person needs to have faith and believe in yourself and I am relaying that message here.  

Don’t stop now and don’t sell yourself short. You got this!