Saturday, May 21, 2011

Paulina Porizkova reveals problems with panic attacks

Musician Ric Ocasek and wife Paulina Porizkova attend a special screening of 'The Social Network'.

Evan Agostini/AP

Musician Ric Ocasek and wife Paulina Porizkova attend a special screening of 'The Social Network'.

A stint on "Dancing With the Stars" gives many stars a newfound love for dancing, or at least a great body, but for former model Paulina Porizkova, it gave her unbearable anxiety attacks.

The former "America's Next Top Model" judge wrote in a column published on the Huffington Post Thursday that she had often suffered from the common mental ailment before ? but that they had subsided.

Until she got kicked off the show.

"? my ego traveled back to ninth grade, when I was the least popular kid in school and just couldn't figure out what I had done wrong to be so disliked. But I had to get over myself, quick. I had children who needed me. I had a husband who needed me. I also had my novel (that took me five years to write) to finally promote. This was no time to sink under!" she wrote.

In the column, Porizkova said she turned to Lexapro, a popular anti-depressant ? which was quickly broadcast to the set of "American's Next Top Model."

She was scared, she said, that she would be fired now that everyone knew the truth.

"I had just started taking it, and this reaction was exactly what I had feared. I was judged crazy. Unstable. It was almost enough to get me to stop it before it had even had a chance to work," she wrote.� "Fortunately, the woman in charge of all this paperwork laughed and admitted that she was also taking said medication -- weren't we all? The production could just write a waiver taking their chances with crazy ol' me. And they did."

After two years, in which she wrote she felt "emotionally Botoxed" and her sex life with her husband suffered, Porizkova quit the pills ? and now says she thinks the panic attacks were just part of growing pains.

"With them, we can stave off the anguish of change; we can take breaks from the afflictions of living. But is it also possible that through the serendipitous use of these brand new staver-'off'ers, we will ultimately pay a price: the price of going through life anesthetized and smooth with all the self-awareness of a slug?" she wrote.

With a record number of Americans taking some sort of anti-depressant, the article predictably drew mixed reaction from readers on the Huffington Post ? some who praised her for being honest about her mental health.

"Certainly there are people who very much need anti-depressants ... but I think this article (which I'm surprised is so well written) points out those who look to anti-depre�ssants as a crutch, a way to deal, an easy way to avoid what needs to be faced in life. There are those who are truly and clinically depressed and there are those who just don't WANT to press on but want to DE - press and find a way to make every day life easier. Thanks for this article," one reader wrote.

Other readers slammed the article for what they seemed to believe was discounting an important medical truth.

"I have gotten 'anti drug' pressure from my family; I tell them they have no idea what things would be like if I hadn't taken my problem to the doctor and found real help and relief. I am proud to be as happy and functional as I am; I survived many tragedies with this help," another added.


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