On Wednesday’s episode of “Red Table Talk,” Willow Smith opened up about her journey with anxiety.
While her mother, Hollywood actress Jada Pinkett Smith, has crafted a safe space for open communication with her Facebook Watch so, Willow says her mother wasn’t always so open.
Ireland Baldwin (daughter to Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin) was a guest on the talk show. Willow shared that it took a long time for her mother to understand her struggles.
“It was rough,” she conveyed. “I feel like when I was growing up, she didn’t understand my anxiety. Because she, growing up, had seen her friends die—she had been through so much stuff that my issues, to her, kind of felt like…[smaller]. And that was very frustrating for me as a child,” Willow continued. “Because I was like, ‘How can you not see my internal and emotional struggle?'”
According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly one in three of all adolescents ages 13 to 18 will experience an anxiety disorder.
In fact, statistics show that teens are more likely to suffer from the disorder. Approximately 19% of all US adults have suffered from an anxiety disorder in the last year, as opposed to nearly 32% of teens.
Fortunately, Willow did not give up trying. And after a sitdown with her mother, Pinkett Smith eventually began to understand the pressure her daughter was under.
“Recently, we had a talk, and she was like, ‘I never knew that I actually experienced anxiety,'” Willow admitted. “And she was pushing it down for so many years, like she had no idea. So, I had to forgive her a little bit for being like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah…I get it, but it’s really not that bad.'”
“In having to deal with and learn about her anxiety, I’ve had to look at some of my own behavior and behaviors of my mother and go, ‘Well, of course I probably would have some anxiety in regards to how I grew up,'” Pinkett Smith added. “It was very difficult.”
If you or someone you love is experiencing a debilitating anxiety attack, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)