Riverdale's Madelaine Petsch Opens Up About Struggle With Panic Attacks, Social Anxiety

See what the actress and YouTuber shared in a candid new interview

By Jess Cohen Aug 05, 2019 3:55 PMTags
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Madelaine Petsch is getting candid about mental health.

The Riverdale star, who struggled with panic attacks before landing the role of Cheryl Blossom on the CW series, is opening up about the "stigma" around therapy. For her NYLON August Choice issue cover story, the 24-year-old actress shares how therapy has helped her work through her anxiety.

"Talk about stigma, dude," Petsch tells the outlet. "I mean, I didn't even know what it was, but I used to get really bad panic attacks right before I booked Riverdale. Then, I started getting really bad social anxiety, and I only was able to home in on what those things are and work through them [with therapy]."

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"I'm not saying I've even made a dent in all the work I need to do, but just being able to home in on what it is and identify it is the first step," she continues. "I only could have done that with therapy. So I understand that maybe people think that there is some kind of stigma around therapy, but, like, you talk to your mom, you talk to your friends—it's the same thing."

If she's having a bad day, Petsch tells NYLON that she turns to her Riverdale co-star, Camila Mendes, for support.

"Mental health is incredibly important to me, and I'm so happy that I'm part of a group of women with the [Riverdale] cast that all speak so vocally about it," the YouTuber shares. "If I'm having a bad day and I'm feeling like my anxiety is through the roof, I will call Cami[la Mendes], and I will go to her place, and we'll eat dried apricots and talk about all of my problems until I have vented it out."

Petsch also sends a message to her fans in her cover story, sharing what she's learned over the years about the idea of perfection.

"I don't think perfectionism and art can even be in the same sentence, but I wasn't aware of that when I first started...Not even necessarily with Cheryl, but more with Madelaine as a person—like, my life had to be perfect. But I realized that no one's life is perfect," Petsch says. "My life is certainly nowhere near it. There's no such thing as perfect art and artist."

For more from Petsch's cover story, head on over to NYLON.